Legion Baseball: Rowan 11, Surry 5
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Six pitches in and Ethan Free wasn’t feeling too festive about Flag Day.
The Rowan starting pitcher had already surrendered three hits before most fans had progressed across the entrance.
Despite the early deficit, Rowan wasn’t about to out-ugly Surry Co., who committed nine errors in Tuesday’s 11-5 decision at Newman Park. Free, who was scheduled to start in Sunday’s wash out against Randolph, went on to win his first start of the year.
Post 342 hadn’t played since Wednesday and Surry was in action Monday, but the inverse looked to be the case to those in attendance. Surry made four miscues alone in the second, where Rowan had its second-straight three-run inning and never had to sweat after that.
“We knew coming in that if they hit balls at certain spots, we were in trouble,” Surry coach Barry Hall said. “We got six kids at the beach. We came into tonight with no shortstop, no second baseman and had to convert third baseman into both.”
Rowan (6-2, 6-1) scored three times in the first, second and fifth innings to get 11 runs for the second-straight game.
“It’s kind of an odd game to talk about,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “With the nine errors they had, we probably should have had more runs.”
Matt Mauldin tied the game on a single to right with the bases loaded in the first and threw out Peyton Simmons from left center trying to score in the third, his first outfield assist of the year. Had Simmons scored, it could have been a 6-4 game.
“I just wanted to get the ball as fast as I could and get the ball home,” Mauldin said. “It felt like a good, strong throw.”
Taylor Garczynski single to left followed Mauldin’s hit in the first, scoring Luke Thomas and giving Rowan the lead permanently at 3-2.
Surry (2-7, 2-5) cut it to 6-3 on Taylor Hall’s RBI single that scored Young but saw Simmons out at home trying to score from second.
Three more errors came in the fifth for Surry, the most damaging when Dakota Brown’s single got past Simmons in center field and allowed two runs to score and Brown to get to third. Brown later scored on a ground out by Will Sapp.
Former North Rowan contributor Dakota Brown drove in a pair of runs and scored twice.
Free retired the side in order in the second and the fifth before being pulled in the sixth after letting the first two batters reach.
“In the first inning I was leaving my stuff about belt-high,” Free said. “Coach [Sandy] Moore told me to get it down in the zone, so I started working down.”
Zach Simpson threw a perfect seventh for Rowan and Bradley Robbins did likewise in the ninth. Caleb Hanley came on in the eighth and fell into trouble after throwing seven straight balls and walking the first two hitters with Rowan up 9-5.
Hanley then got Austin McLamb to ground into a 5-3 double play and struck out Josh Beasley to end the threat.
“I threw a curveball in there and the guy was a little late on it,” Hanley said. “I was trying to get a ground ball and Avery [Rogers] made a great play at third base.”
Andy Austin and Nathan Fulbright scored runs in the second after Austin singled and Fulbright walked to lead off.
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