Prep Baseball: South Rowan 7, North Rowan 6
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012
By David Shaw
LANDIS — It must have been “Anything Can Happen Night” Wednesday at South Rowan.
The Raiders prevailed in a test-of-nerves contest that was visiting North Rowan’s for the taking, rallying for a 7-6 non-conference victory.
“A game like this can’t hurt either team,” South coach Thad Chrismon said after the Raiders improved to 7-6 overall. “Any time you get put in situations like this and you’re asked to respond, it only makes you better.”
No one responded louder than South’s Dylan Goodman, the outfielder who delivered the game-winning hit with one out in the last of the seventh inning.
“It’s just baseball,” he said with a post-game chuckle. “You’ve just got to play the game and play through all the craziness.”
It became a heated game that saw North coach Aaron Rimer confined to the dugout for the final seven outs. Later a disgruntled NR fan was escorted from the premises. Most likely their moods were soured by the Cavs’ shoddy defense — which committed six errors — and South’s timely, late-inning hitting.
“We can’t win when we give the other team 10 or 11 extra outs,” Rimer said afterward. “No one can.”
North (4-6) certainly positioned itself to win. The Cavs rode right-hander Thomas Tucker’s elastic right arm to a 6-2 mid-game lead. Most of the damage came in North’s five-run fifth inning, when South starter Austin Holbrooks withered and Jordan Kennerly was ineffective in relief. Key hits included Jake Smith’s run-scoring single to center field and Tucker’s two-run double to right.
“Halfway through the game we were back on our heels,” said winning pitcher Aaron Bare. “We had to fight back as a team and keep our morale up.”
Bare played a decisive role. On a night when South’s staff issued 10 walks, the junior righthander restored order with 21/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn his first victory. He induced a groundout with two runners aboard on the first pitch he threw — defusing North’s fifth-inning outburst — then retired five of the Cavs’ last six batters.
“He’s pitched a lot of innings and has probably been our most reliable reliever,” Chrismon said. “He’s got a good off-speed pitch that gets hitters out in front. And he doesn’t hurt himself by walking too many people.”
South trimmed its deficit to 6-4 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. DH Matt Miller lined an RBI single to left field and Jonnie Lefebvre followed two batters later with a run-scoring bouncer into right.
Then in the sixth the Raiders chased Smith when Parker Hubbard (3-for-3, 3 RBIs) sprayed a two-run single into left field.
“He hung a curveball up in the zone and I knocked it over the shortstop’s head,” he said. “It was really nice.”
So was Goodman’s game-winning hit. Lefebvre opened the SR seventh with a double to left. Eric Goldstein reached on a bunt single and red-hot sophomore Tyler Fuller was intentionally walked to load the bases.
With one away, Rimer placed five North fielders across the infield dirt, hoping to turn any grounder into a force at the plate. Instead Goodman lined an 0-2 pitch from lefty Mason Jennings into right field.
“Coach told me to relax and have fun,” Goodman said. “I waited for the pitch I wanted.”
Added Rimer: “We could have had nine infielders and that still would have been a hit. That was good hitting.”