Legion notebook: Morehead throws high heat Rowan's way
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2011
By Mike London
State tournament notes …
MOREHEAD CITY — Matt Laurens, who is used almost exclusively as a pitcher by Rowan, swung a bat in Thursday’s state tournament home run derby and launched a pair of homers.
BAT CAVE: A Rowan official explained the back-and-forth illegal bat situation thusly: “When we got here, we found out that our illegal bats (At least illegal during the Area III playoffs) are now legal. We didn’t bring any with us, but we were able to get some brought up here.”
IT’S NOT THE HEAT: Rowan is playing a long way from home, a good five hours from Newman Park, and the heat and humidity are almost unbearable. The East Rowan players, however, said they could remember at least one warmer game than Friday’s — the 2009 3A state championships at Zebulon’s Five County Stadium.
EATING LIKE KINGS: The state tournament banquet was held outside on Thursday and got thumbs-ups from everyone for the qualify of the food, especially the shrimp.
The “Continental Breakfast” at Rowan’s hotel failed to received similar rave reviews. It was juice and doughnuts.
FAN-TASTIC: Rowan fans were out in force for Friday’s 6-4 seesaw win against Wayne County, but they were stunned when starting lineups were introduced and Will Sapp (always the center fielder) was announced as the shortstop.
Rowan fans had just started to wonder if maybe regular shortstop Justin Morris had taken ill, when they realized the whole lineup was taking a public address beating.
Morris was introduced as the third baseman, and Rowan fans soon found they had a couple of new guys to cheer for — Avery Rodas and Bailey Robbins.
Topping things off was the introduction of invisible assistant coach Linza Keegan.
When balls and strikes disappeared from the scoreboard, the P.A. announcer apologized for technical difficulties. “Yeah, like the lineups,” a Rowan fan added helpfully — and loudly.
DRAINED: The P.A. folks did prudently remind everyone every 15 minutes or so to stay hydrated on a dangerously hot day, but even those remarks were met with scorn by Rowan rooters. “Whatever you’ve been drinking, we don’t want any,” one growled.
LOUD CROWD: The morning game was fairly lightly attended a 10 a.m., but a sizable crowd had gathered by the time it finally ended — after 1 p.m.
ZACK SNACK: Zack Simpson (6-1) is expected to pitch for Rowan today.
DROUGHTS: Morris’ first-inning, no-doubt blast was his team-high eighth homer, but his first since the regular-season finale against Kannapolis.
Sapp’s game-deciding homer was his fourth and first in 11 games. His most recent one came at Newman Park against Concord.
KUDOS: Rowan coach Jim Gantt praised the work of Luke Thomas, who came into the game behind the plate and survived the heat.
“It’s not easy coming in to catch halfway through when you don’t know where the strike zone’s going to be,” Gantt said. “He did a nice job.”
RARE ERROR: Rowan first baseman Andy Austin had a momentary lapse in the eighth when he committed two errors on the same play, a boot to let the batter reach and a throw past first base that let two men advance.
But Austin also saved a teammate an error, going high for a throw from Morris and coming down on the bag just in time to get an out in the fifth.