Prep Baseball: South Rowan 8, West Iredell 1: Parker shines for Raiders
By Marny Hendrick
LANDIS — By all rights, Friday night’s dominating win over NPC leader West Iredell could be called a statement victory for the South Rowan Raiders. Junior Dillon Parker pitched a complete game five-hitter and drove in three runs to lead South to the 8-1 victory.
Backed by a stout defense and displaying an effective mixture of pitches, Parker pitched his best game of the season — perhaps his career — to improve to 2-3. His two-run double to deep right in the second added insurance against a stunned Warrior team.
“It wasn’t just me,” a humble Parker said afterward. “It was a great team effort. This win means everything to us and what we want to accomplish this season.”
As for calling it a statement victory, South coach Thad Crismon would have no part of it despite the fact that the surging Raiders have won five out of six and finished the week 3-0.
“We are not a team that can make any kind of statement, “ Chrismon said. “We are just trying to battle for our play-off lives.”
The win certainly enhanced the Raiders’ playoff lives in the tight North Piedmont Conference race as they are just one game out of the top spot.
It was also a win that was decided quickly.
South (8-6, 4-3) notched four unearned runs in the first chasing Warrior starter Lance Clanton after two-thirds of an inning with 25 pitches, three hit batters, two walks and a key two-out error. The Raiders pounced on reliever Luke Elliott in the second with back to back two-run doubles to expand the lead to 8-0.
Parker kept the Warriors at bay thanks to a steller defense led by second baseman Eric Goldston. In the fourth, he made a diving stop to save one hit then snagged a hot liner to end the frame.
West Iredell finally broke through in the sixth when the middle of their order notched three hits. The rally was cut short on a diving stop by Goldston to cut down the lead runner at second.
“Give South credit because they played with passion and intensity tonight,” West Iredell coach Randy Martin said. “We played hard all the way but you can’t play the way we did early and be successful.”
As a light rain began to fall, Parker closed out the game in the seventh with three quick outs. For Chrismon, the win showed his team has what it takes to be successful.
“We have to pound the pitches in there, which we did,” he said, “and we have to make plays behind the pitcher, which we did.”
NOTES: South will retire the jersey of former player Brian Smith Monday night prior to its 7 p.m. game with Concord. Smith, the only Raider to reach the major leagues will be on hand with his family and former teammates. It is part of South’s year-long 50th anniversary observance.