Rowan Legion notebook

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 25, 2011

By Ryan Bisesi
Rowan notebook …
MOREHEAD CITY — Big Rock Stadium turned into Coors Field East Sunday, with the thick coastal breeze substituting the role of Rocky Mountain air.
Rowan starter Matt Laurens gave up seven hits in 42/3 innings and five of them ended up going over the fence — a couple no doubt aided by the heavy wind that kept residence at Puck O’ Neal Field.
Laurens had trouble finding the strike zone in the opening frames. After 42 pitches, he had thrown 21 strikes and 21 balls.
“Anything near left field goes out of the park,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “It plays a lot smaller than Newman Park. We knew we were in trouble there watching the home run derby.”
Rowan was a victim of the wind Saturday when a seemingly normal fly ball to center eclipsed the centerfield fence.
“It normally doesn’t fly out of here this good,” Morehead coach Robbie Lasater said. “During the day the wind blows here all the time. At night, it settles down.”
Rowan, which is used to playing in a hitter-friendly venue in Newman Park, was a bit taken aback, though Will Sapp hit a huge two-run, wind-aided home run for Rowan in Friday’s win against Wayne County.
“You’re at a big disadvantage if you’re a pitcher here,” Rowan’s Bradley Robbins said.
CAN OF CORN: Rowan had a little fun at its hotel Saturday to get its mind off the tough loss to Wilmington.
The Econolodge, which is host to several of the teams playing in the state legion tournament, has been home to a cornhole tournament that several players from each team have competed in.
“We played against Wilmington and beat them,” Sapp said. “At least we beat them at something. We were just playing for fun.”
PITCHING CHOICES: Gantt said either Sunday’s winner Ethan Free or Robbins will start today’s game against Cherryville.
Robbins, who struggled with control Saturday, came into a no-win situation (bases loaded, nobody out) in the seventh on Sunday with nerves of steel.
“I was pumped,” Robbins said. “I was ready to go in and set them down.”
When asked if the team was tired toward the end of a long season, Robbins said, “I know I am.”