Junior Legion rolling
Rowan County’s Junior American Legion team opens play today in the state tournament in Hickory.
Rowan takes on Cary at 10 a.m.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but now we’ve won 20 in a row,” coach Brian Hightower said. “We’re pretty talented.”
Rowan is batting .392 as a team, with an on-base percentage of .507.
The infield usually consists of Salisbury’s Chance Bowden at first base; North Rowan’s Alex Morgan at second base; East Rowan’s Hunter Brooks at third base, and East’s Chase Hathcock at shortstop.
Outfield regulars are Salisbury’s Nolan Meyerhoeffer in left, East’s Connor Johnson in center, and East’s Chance Mazza in right.
West Rowan’s Michael Pinkston is the starting catcher, with Morgan also catching some.
Hathcock and Morgan are usually the table-setters, with Brooks, DH Roby Holmes and Bowden hitting in the middle of the lineup.
Holmes, younger brother of Trey and Noah, plays first base when Bowden pitches and is batting .440.
“Roby started slow and was close to losing his spot, but we had faith in him and he’s rewarded that faith,” Hightower said. “He’s just been red-hot lately and was 9-for-9 with four walks in one three-game stretch. I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s really worked hard to be successful.”
Key hurlers are Bowden, Johnson, Salisbury’s Clint Veal and East’s Alex Bost. The team ERA is 3.02. The defense has been steady.
Bost is the probable starter for today’s game with Cary.
“We were pretty good, but then we got a big boost when Bost, Morgan and Meyerhoeffer came down from the senior team when they had to cut down,” Hightower said.
Hightower said Rowan played solidly in the playoffs against quality teams such as Southeast Guilford, Thomasville and Central Forsyth.
“We know we’re going to be up against some great competition in the state,” Hightower said. “To do well, we’ve got to play our best.”
Rowan will play at 10 again on Saturday if it loses but will be in a 4:30 p.m. game if it wins.