Legion baseball: Rowan opens at Lexington
Rowan County opens the American Legion season tonight against Lexington at historic Holt-Moffitt Field.
With Jim Gantt coaching Catawba in the Division II World Series, Sandy Moore will pilot Rowan tonight, and Carson head Chris Cauble will be helping him out.
A new Legion rule this season permits only 18 players to be in uniform on a given night, so Rowan, which has a current roster of 26, will dress just 18.
The final date to turn in an official 18-man roster is June 23.
Rowan will count heavily on East Rowan veterans, including pitchers Bradley Robbins and Alex Bost, catcher Nathan Fulbright, shortstop Ashton Fleming and outfielder/pitcher Jared Mathis. All were part of Rowan’s 25-10 season in 2011 that ended with third place in the state tournament.
East second baseman Chase Hathcock also figures to play a key role, although Rowan will not have the services of first baseman Andy Austin, last summer’s No. 3 hitter. Austin is heading to summer school at UNC Wilmington.
Rowan also has two former Mustangs who saw some action as college freshmen.
Will Sapp (Wingate) will likely be Rowan’s starting center fielder for the third time. Avery Rogers (Guilford) started at third base for Rowan in 2011, although he focused on pitching in college.
Rowan welcomes Salisbury High standout Brian Bauk this summer, and that’s a huge addition offensively, defensively and on the mound.
“We’ve had some pleasant surprises as far as some of the guys that came out,” Gantt said. “We’re glad we’ve got ’em, and it will be fun seeing what they can do.”
It will be the Legion debut for Bauk, who has played showcase ball previously. He batted .424 for the Hornets as a junior, stole 20 bases and went 4-3 on the mound with a 2.83 ERA. He’s likely to be a future Division I signee.
Bauk has some minor surgery coming up, but it isn’t expected to sideline him for an extended period.
Rowan also gets a boost from several talented Carson players, including starting pitchers Colton Laws, who was undefeated in high school, and Catawba signee Ethan Free.
Laws is a candidate to play first base, and Rowan will get catching help from strong-armed young slugger Bryson Prugh, who led the county this season in homers.