Legion Baseball: Mooresville Moors 5, Rowan 1
By Jordan Honeycutt
SALISBURY ó Rowan Countyís American Legion team continued its trend of scoring early by putting up at least one run in the first inning for the fifth consecutive game.
The problem on Sunday night at Newman Park was that one early run was its only run.
Rowan fell to the Mooresville Moors squad 5-1, dropping its second contest in as many nights and lowering its record to 9-4 overall and 6-3 in the Southern Division of Area III.
ěWe couldnít get the bats going tonight and couldnít field our positions either,î Rowan coach Jim Gantt said.
ěMooresville deserves all of the credit, though, as they were clearly the better team tonight. They just beat us.î
The most evident problem for the home team can easily be found in the boxscore, as Rowan left 10 runners stranded on base.
Rowan was limited to eight scattered hits by Moors starter Joey McAlpin, who after the first inning, seemed to transform into Greg Maddux, as he located pitches, kept the ball down and minimized Rowanís damage.
The lone Rowan run came off the bat of first baseman Andy Austin, who drove a single to right field that scored Will Sapp, who had led off the first inning with a double.
ěThis is a real tough loss for us,î Austin said. ěOur guys are just going up there and jumping at way too many pitches. We all need to work a lot of more on staying back and not trying to go up there and do too much.î
Rowan received a gutsy, hard-fought effort on the mound from starter Ethan Free, who hurled 62/3 innings, while allowing five runs on 10 hits.
Where Free, and the entire Rowan infield struggled was with fielding Mooresvilleís bunt attempts.
The Moors laid down four bunts and turned two of them into singles with hustle and a little help from the Rowan defense.
ěIím definitely disappointed in myself not getting to those bunts and not making plays for my teammates,î Free said. ěI felt a little rough tonight, didnít have my best stuff, but most of all, I think I just need to keep my composure better and get on to those bunts a lot quicker.î
One bright spot in the loss for Rowan, was the performance of reliever Avery Rogers.
Rogers came into the game in the seventh with two down and two on and worked out of the jam. He also threw hitless eighth and ninth frames.
Mooresville coach Josh Graham knows the significance that a win over Rowan can have for his team.
ěThis is a great win for us over a great team and our pitching has done excellent work all season as Joey (McAlpin) did tonight,î Graham said. ěWe donít really have a powerful offense so we have to play a lot of ësmall ballí to get runs and it worked out for us again.î
Mooresville will look to ride the momentum train as it takes on South Rowan tonight, while Rowan will try to keep a two-game skid from becoming a three-game slide when it battles league-leading Mocksville tonight at Newman Park.
Mocksville mashed Rowan 13-3 at Rich Park early in the season.