Legion Baseball: Kannapolis 10, Mocksville 7

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 5, 2011

By Mike London
MOCKSVILLE ó When Mocksvilleís Bull Barber crushed a pitch from Kannapolisí Zach Jones in the eighth inning, everyone assumed it was leaving Mando Field for a two-run homer.
ěI closed my eyes,î Jones said. ěBall gets hit like that, I donít like to watch.î
Fortunately for Jones and Kannapolis, Dylan May kept both eyes open, as he raced for the warning track. Maybe a foot from the wall in dead center, he pulled in the blast, and kept Jones in the ballgame.
It was a long night of close calls for Kannapolis, but Post 115 somehow beat Mocksville 10-7 to qualify for the final spot in the Area III playoffs. Kannapolis (6-13, 6-12) was out-hit 13-4, believe it or not, but it scratched out runs on errors, wild pitches, passed balls and aggressive baserunning.
Will Miller, Wes Honeycutt and Landon Hubbard knocked in runs with infield outs, Taylor West and John Wallace had RBI singles, and Evan Holub hit a solo homer.
Kannapolis got its other four runs without having to put the ball in play.
ěWhen you out-hit a team by as much as we did and still get beat, well, thatís just not good,î Mocksville coach Chares Kurfees. ěWalks and passed balls hurt us, and we had some kids playing out of position.î
Mocksville (14-10, 13-5) wanted the game. It was already assured of being the Southern Divisionís No. 2 seed for the playoffs, but a win would have meant sharing the division title (with Rowan County) for the first time since 1993. But Mocksville couldnít put its ëAí lineup on the field. Alex Newman, Javan Phillips and Tyler Jordan, who usually bat 1-2-3, werenít available.
Still, Mocksville had the sticks to knock out Kannapolis starter Josh Martin with five straight hits in the second inning. Bryce Merrittís grand slam ended Martinís night and gave Mocksville a 5-3 lead.
ěEverything was rolling against us,î Kannapolis coach Matt Stack said. ěIt wouldíve been pretty simple to lose after that slam.î
While it was playing at Rich Park, Kannapolis was batting as the home team. Holubís solo shot in the bottom of the second began a comeback.
Tyler Kingís RBI double down the right-field line gave Mocksville a 7-5 lead, but Kannapolis caught up in the sixth on a three-base throwing error on Jonesí bunt and inched ahead 8-7 on Millerís RBI groundout.
Stack got gutsy relief outings from Luke Pepper, who pitched a complete game to beat Wilkes Saturday, and Jones, who pitched five innings against Rowan on Sunday.
ěWe didnít have any pitching left,î Stack said. ěI asked Zach if he could go. He said heíd do whatever it took to win.î
Jones stopped Mocksville for three innings, and with two men on in the ninth, West, who has had arm trouble, took the ball for the first time this summer. He got the final two outs with the help of third baseman Jarrin Hogue, who leaped high to spear a liner off Merrittís bat.
ěI was creeping in because heís a lefty hitter,î Hogue said. ěThen he hit that ball really good. I was lucky to catch it.î
Some luck was involved, but Stack was finally smiling.
ěItís kinda like golf,î he said. ěNo one cares how you shot what you shot. All that matters is what your score was.î