Legion baseball: Wilkes 7, S. Rowan 1

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 27, 2011

By Mike London
LANDIS ó It was quiet at South Rowan during and after a 7-1 Southern Division of Area III loss to visiting Wilkes.
There have been uglier games this summer, but none less dramatic. South didnít offer much resistance as Wilkes swept the regular season home-and-home series for the first time since 2000.
South (7-13, 6-9) was flattened 12-2 in a seven-inning game when it played at Wilkesí home field in Moravian Falls on June 9.
About the only good news for South fans, other than some pretty good relief pitching by Jordan Kennerly and Patrick Hampton, was that there were no raindrops, no lightning delays and they got home at a decent hour.
ěI thought weíd be chomping at the bit to get back at them,î South coach Michael Lowman said. ěBut we just seemed not to be there. Iím baffled. I thought weíd turned the corner when we beat (first-place) Mocksville.î
South players offered no excuses, but they agreed with their coach they hadnít performed with peak zeal.
ěPointblank? We sucked,î said candid first baseman Kyle Bridges, who managed two of Southís eight hits. ěWilkes was the team that played a doubleheader Sunday and Wilkes was the team that had to make a long trip tonight. But we were the ones with no effort and no hustle. I believe weíre as good as they are and I thought weíd come out with more fire, but we had nothing.î
Wilkes experienced numerous rainouts early and is facing a deluge of doubleheaders.
It split a pair of home games with Stanly on Sunday before making the taxing bus ride to South last night.
ěThis made five games in four days, so I was very pleased that we came out and played solid baseball,î Wilkes coach Terry Johnson said. ěWe wanted to show that our beating South the first time was no fluke.î
Scott Gambill was a terror for Wilkes (8-5, 6-4) with four hits and a sacrifice fly. Ryan Harrold had three hits and made two fine catches in center field.
Starting pitcher Christian Triplett didnít do anything fancy and struck out just one, but he also didnít walk a batter in seven crisp innings. William Johnson shut out South in the eighth and ninth.
ěWe had good hitting, good defense and just outstanding pitching,î Coach Johnson said. ěWith three more games in the next two days, we needed to get this done using two pitchers, and we did. We didnít give South any baserunners with walks, and we capitalized when they made mistakes.î
South lefty Dylan Walker, who has been good, struggled this time. He lasted five innings, and Wilkes had a solid base hit to open four of them.
The game turned sour for South in the bottom of the first after Dylan Goodman blooped a single and Gunnar Hogan drilled a double to put runners at second and third with one out. Maverick Miles, the program record-holder for RBIs, followed with a groundout to first, and Goodman was thrown out at home for a deflating, inning-ending double play.
South trailed 2-0 when it scratched out a run in the third. Bridges beat out an infield hit, moved up a base on his brother Connorís sacrifice, took third on an error on Goodmanís groundball and scored on Hoganís long sac fly that was caught by a tumbling Harrold at the fence.
Southís defense unraveled after that. Walker made two misplays on the mound in key situations, and Wilkes just kept tacking on to its lead.
Kennerly held Wilkes to one run in three innings of relief work.
ěI gave it my best, threw strikes and hit most of my spots,î Kennerly said. ěI tried to give us a chance.î
He did, and Hampton struck out the side in the ninth.
But Southís bats, other than hot Matt Miller, who had two more hits, stayed silent.
ěIt was odd because Wilkes seemed to have more energy,î Lowman said. ěWe werenít patient at the plate, and they just outplayed us.î
Southís non-division home game with Thomasville scheduled for tonight was canceled.