Legion Baseball: Rowan 15, Wilkes 6
WILKESBORO — Now, that’s how you manufacture runs.
Rowan’s Legion baseball team had only one hit in the fourth inning at Wilkes on Wednesday but turned it into a six-run frame on its way to a 15-6 Southern Division victory.
The win helped fourth-place Rowan (11-5, 8-4) get a bit closer to third-place Wilkes (5-4, 3-2), who has several makeup games in its future.
An offensive battle looked like a sure thing going into the fourth. Luke Thomas broke out of a slump by pounding a three-run homer in a four-run first, but after three innings, Wilkes had inched within 5-4 off starter Zack Simpson.
Connor Mathis took the mound for Wilkes and got in trouble when he walked Will Sapp on four pitches. That brought Justin Morris to the plate with two on.
Morris laid a bunt down the third-base line. It was thrown away, scoring both runners. Morris went all the way to third.
It was just the beginning of a nightmare inning for Mathis. Morris scored on a wild pitch. An error after Taylor Garczynski’s hit brought home two more runs for a 10-4 advantage.
Dakota Brown made it 11-4 with a sacrifice fly.
When the dust cleared, 12 Rowan batters had come to the plate. There were six walks and the two errors.
With a huge lead, Simpson cruised through the fifth and picked up his fourth victory without a loss.
Wilkes got a run back in the fifth but Rowan responded in the top of the sixth. Garczynski doubled and came home on Sapp’s RBI hit. Wilkes’ fourth error on Andy Austin’s ball scored two runs for a 14-4 Rowan lead.
With the score 14-6, Rowan scored on a — you guessed it — Wilkes’ fifth error.
Avery Rogers replaced Simpson and pitched the sixth and seventh. Closer Will Johnson quickly pitched through the eighth and ninth innings.
NOTES: The first Rowan run of the game came when Morris scored on Nathan Fulbright’s single. … The game was played in a rainstorm and gusts of wind. The last two innings were played in a torrential downpour. … Thomas’s blast was his second of the season. He has 14 RBIs, second on the team … Matt Mauldin led Rowan with three hits. Sapp had two hits. … Rowan gets a rare night off tonight before going to Statesville on Friday. Tuscaloosa, Ala. visits Newman Park on Saturday and Northern Division power Eastern Randolph on Sunday.