F&M Bank Classic: South Rowan 9, Robinson 0: Sizzling Raiders go undefeated in tournament
By Ronnie Gallagher
KANNAPOLIS — Here are the Bare facts about the South Rowan baseball team: It’s pretty darn good.
“We’re just on a roll,” said Aaron Bare after he pitched the Raiders to an impressive 9-0 victory over Robinson in Saturday’s 10 a.m. game in the F&M Bank Classic at CMC-NorthEast Stadium. “We’re playing good baseball.”
Robinson is in first place in the South Piedmont Conference but Friday and Saturday were like night and day. On Friday, the Bulldogs were shut out 2-0 by East Rowan fireballer Bradley Robbins. Against South, it was the slow, sweeping curves of Bare.
“Yesterday, we faced a guy who was probably the best we’ve faced all year,” Robinson coach Jason Sarvis said. “Today, we didn’t make adjustments. We swung at the pitcher’s pitch about all day.”
Adjustments at the plate might not have mattered the way Thad Chrismon’s team is playing. The Raiders (13-7) are the hottest club around and the win was their 10th in the last 12 games. They’ve won four straight and went 3-0 over the weekend.
“Everybody contributed to our wins,” praised Chrismon. “That’s what was important. We were thrown in a ton of situations and we responded pretty well. The whole goal was to just get better throughout these three games and I think we did.”
The goal Saturday was to basically make routine plays. Bare was never in trouble and didn’t give up his first hit until the fourth.
“My curveball was working good today,” Bare reported. “I was pretty confident in my pitching and my defense was working good behind me.”
If Bare looked relaxed on the mound, it was because Dylan Goodman and the offense was pecking away at Robinson starter Justin Milander, scoring three runs in the third and two in the fourth.
Goodman and Matt Miller produced the biggest hits in the third. Bare helped himself with a hit. Goodman’s sharp single to center scored pinch-runner Spencer Matlock.
Jordan Kennerly scored on a passed ball in the fourth. Parker Hubbard’s shot to short was too hot to handle, making it 5-0.
Bare gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth and just as the Robinson crowd began making some noise, he recorded two strikeouts and a flyout to center. He ambled off the mound to handshakes and pats on the back with a nifty two-hitter, including six strikeouts.
“He’s awesome,” Goodman smiled. “I feel so comfortable when Bare’s pitching. He just does his job every time he goes out there.”
“Nothing bothers him,” the coach said. “He sees what the sign is and throws the pitches. That’s what I like.”
As South has gotten hotter and hotter, so has Goodman. His sizzling triple to left-center in the seventh scored Tyler Fuller. Hubbard again came through with an RBI on a deep fly to left for an insurmountable 7-0 lead.
South wasn’t done. After Jonnie Lefebvre beat out an infield single in the seventh a Robinson error on a double-play ball plated one. Eric Tyler scored the final run on an opposite-field single by (who else?) Goodman for the final score.
“We’re hot right now,” Goodman acknowledged. “We’ve put some good stuff together.”
NOTES: South will need to keep it up with Carson on tap Tuesday and East Rowan on Friday. … Goodman had three hits. … Tyler relieved Bare and threw effectively in the sixth and seventh. … After a good start, Robinson fell to 11-7 after going 1-2 in the F&M Bank Classic.