Legion Baseball: Stanly 7, Rowan 4
By Ryan Bisesi
ALBEMARLE — Rowan does several things well as a team, some of which even were on display at Montgomery Field Tuesday.
But they’re not going to out-homer you.
On the longest day of the year, leadoff man Will Sapp hit two of the longest balls he’s hit in 2011 and Rowan hit three homers total, but it couldn’t overcome three Stanly Co. longballs on its home field, dropping a 7-4 decision on the road. Three home runs sounds exciting, but not when it only equals four runs total. Rowan left eight runners on base and didn’t have an answer other than knocking it out.
After knocking off Southern Division leader Mocksville Monday, Rowan dropped its fourth league game to descend to 10-5 and 7-4 in the division.
Stanly third baseman and UNC Wilmington signee Corey Dick, who hit a earth-shattering blast against South Rowan last week, hurt another local team by getting his third home run in the third and giving Stanly the lead for keeps on an line-drive single off the leg of reliever Caleb Henley in the seventh.
“We were trying to keep it away from him in that situation, but those things happen,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said.
Talk about adding insult to injury.
“I threw a two-seamer in that tailed,” Henley said. “The guy’s a great ballplayer and hit it right back at me. It hit me right on the elbow.”
Drew Cole and Josh Cochran also hit balls over the fence for Stanly, who improved to 7-5 and 5-4 in the league.
“That’s how we score most of our runs,” Stanly coach Derek Barringer said. “There’s potential for anybody in the lineup to hit one out.”
Sapp, who didn’t homer all season for East Rowan, knocked two out in consecutive at bats in the third and the fifth. Sapp’s initial shot gave Rowan a 2-1 lead before Dick’s homer in the bottom of the inning came on a 1-0 count and made it 3-2 in Stanly’s favor. In the fifth, it was a pitch from Russ Weiker that ended up over the left field fence to start back-to-back bombs, thanks to Justin Morris’s shot, his fifth of the year.
“The guys were joking with me saying that I wouldn’t catch Morris,” Sapp said.
Rowan starter Bradley Robbins exited in the fifth with runners at first and second and no one out. Henley appeared and set the heart of the Stanly lineup down in order. Henley retired the first seven batters he faced before running into trouble in the seventh by walking Gus Fesperman. Fesperman stole second to set things up for Dick, who finished with three hits and three RBI on the night.
“Just talking with their coaches, I think they were trying to stay away from him,” Barringer said. “But he put a good swing on it.”
Rowan, who scored in the first inning for the 10th time in its last 11 games, took a 1-0 lead on Andy Austin’s RBI single with one out. Cole answered with a blast in the bottom of the inning.
Rowan had two on with two out in the eighth, but Jake Lowder got pinch hitter Matt Laurens to strike out to end the threat.
“We didn’t hit it like we needed to with runners on base,” Sapp said. “That’s the way it goes some nights.”