Legion Baseball: Mocksville 13, Rowan 3
By Mike London
MOCKSVILLE — Connor Bodenhamer’s sixth-inning drive soared toward the light pole in left-center for a three-run homer, and it was obvious Rowan County wasn’t coming back on Saturday night.
Mocksville (4-4, 3-0) buried perennial tormentor Rowan 13-3 in a 10-run rule game. After three innings at Rich Park, Mocksville’s offense had magically turned three singles into eight runs. That tells you how many of Rowan’s wounds were self-inflicted.
Five more Rowan errors raised the season tally to 14 if you’re keeping score at home.
“I thought we’d be better than this defensively,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “We’re fortunate our pitchers have done a real good job with men on base, or we wouldn’t have won our first two games.”
Will Sapp was the only Rowan player who had an exceptional night. The leadoff man stole two bases, scored twice and made a sprinting catch in center field that he turned into a double play.
Rowan fans were excited about the starting debut of tall southpaw Caleb Henley, and there was a buzz after he fired a strike on his first pitch. But Mocksville leadoff man Alex Newman sent Henley’s second offering whistling into right field for a clean hit.
Henley’s night was brief. He pitched to 13 batters and retired three. He walked five — three straight in one stretch— and four of those free passes came around to score, as Mocksville seized a 7-1 lead after two innings.
“It’s not like we went up there looking for walks, but that first pitcher was wild,” Bodenhamer said. “He didn’t have his control tonight, and we jumped on them early.”
Gantt’s not about to give up on Henley.
“Pitching’s a little different when you go out to the mound and your stomach’s churning,” Gantt said. “Mocksville is good and that put more pressure on him.”
While walks hurt Henley in the first, back-to-back errors wrecked him in the second.
“We kicked a couple behind him, and he doesn’t have a lot of mound experience,” Gantt said. “We’ll get him back on the mound. He didn’t make any excuses when he came out of there, and I liked that.”
While Rowan scored in the first when Sapp and Justin Morris executed a double steal, Mocksville pitcher Brandon Wilson took over after that. He fired three different pitches for strikes and got some help from third baseman Tyler King, who had a gold-glove kind of night.
Rowan got its second run when Newman didn’t see Luke Thomas’ long flyball to center, and it fell for a triple. Rowan’s final run came when Sapp tripled and Andy Austin singled in the seventh.
“Rowan’s got a great program, but we couldn’t put them up on a pedestal, we just had to go out and play baseball,” Mocksville coach Charlie Kurfees said. “We competed and our pitcher competed. That’s what you want to see.”