Legion Baseball: South Rowan 12, Mooresville Legends 2
By Mike London
LANDIS — Gunnar Hogan must be a great teammate.
Hogan was quick to apologize for the two errors he made at shortstop that cost pitcher Matt Miller a shutout, but he neglected to mention he went 4-for-4 at the plate to lead the South Rowan Legion team to an easy 12-2 win over the Mooresville Legends on Monday night.
Hogan was stroking rockets, and so was just about everyone else. Joseph Basinger, Dylan Walker, Parker Hubbard, Jacob Dietz and Kyle Bridges knocked in two runs apiece in a game Basinger’s RBI single ended in the seventh by the 10-run rule.
South scored six times in the first. Miller took it from there against the Legends, who fell to 1-3 in the league.
“Matt pitched well, threw a lot more strikes than in his other outings,” South coach Michael Lowman said. “He got some early contact and only needed 89 pitches. Anytime we get starting pitching like that, we’ll be all right.”
Miller had a terrific high school season for South’s Raiders, but he had an ERA that looked like the national debt after Legion starts against High Point and Stanly. South (2-6, 2-3) lost those two games 21-13 and 10-8.
Miller’s best pitch is a riding, four-seam fastball. He’s been trying to sink a two-seamer this summer, but without positive results. He went back to his bread and butter.
“I’ve been trying to learn the two-seamer, but the four-seamer I’ve thrown all my life,” Miller said. “It helped me relax when we got all those early runs, and the defense really played behind me.”
Right fielder Maverick Miles turned in the game’s defensive gem, chasing a flyball a long way into foul territory before making a diving catch.
“I could see that ball was tailing away from him and I knew there was no way he could get there,” Miller said. “But he made the catch. He made an amazing catch.”
South’s first started with a walk to Hogan and a long double to right by Bridges. Miles was next, and while you don’t often see an intentional walk in the first inning, Miles received one to load the bases.
“I was looking through the South records in the program before the game, and that kid is up there in everything,” said Johnny Meadows, who was coaching the Legends last night. “We put him on to set up a double play. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.”
This time it didn’t. Basinger walked to force home a run. Dietz greeted reliever Chase Laing with a sac fly to make it 2-1. Hubbard doubled to the gap in right-center for two runs — Ryan Brannon nearly made a great catch — and Walker singled up the middle to make it 6-1.
“It seems like every game, the door’s been open for us to have that big inning, but we haven’t gotten the big hits,” Basinger said. “Tonight, we got those clutch hits and accelerated from there.”
Laing kept South quiet for a while, but Hogan’s RBI double and Bridges’ two-run single blew it open in the fifth.
“South’s a good ballclub,” Meadows said. “I know what their record is, but when you look at their scores, they’ve been in every ballgame.”