Legion Baseball: Kannapolis 5, South Rowan 4
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — Kannapolis third baseman Jarrin Hogue made one of the bonehead plays of the century, but he more than made up for it.
Hogue made two spectacular defensive stops, hit a two-run homer and took the mound to close out a 5-4 win against visiting South Rowan in a Saturday night marathon.
“Coach (Joe) Hubbard was kind of ticked because I made that bad play that could’ve cost us the game,” Hogue said. “But overall I was pretty happy.”
Hogue handed South Rowan an extra out that allowed it to tie the game 3-3 in the sixth inning. When Scottie Hinson bunted back to the mound on a sacrifice attempt, Tyler Sides was dead at third base, but Hogue was thinking force play. He stepped on the bad instead of tagging the runner and everybody was safe.
That lapse permitted Dylan Carpenter to tie the game with a sacrifice fly, and South, which had trailed almost from the time it got off the bus, briefly caught up.
Both teams were frustrated offensively. South left 13 on base, while Kannapolis (2-0, 1-0) somehow managed to strand 16.
South (0-2, 0-1) got a solid effort from starting pitcher Matt Miller, but it failed to make a couple of makeable defensive plays.
South left the bases loaded in the third and sixth and rapped into a DP with the bases full to end the seventh.
“We’ve got a lot to work on as far as situational hitting and manufacturing runs,” second baseman Parker Hubbard said. “But it’s a long season. We’ve played two games of many, and we’ll get better.”
The worst moments for South came in the top of the third after Carpenter got an infield hit and Connor Bridges and Dylan Goodman walked to load the bases with no outs.
That’s when Kannapolis starter Ryan Keziah racked up three straight strikeouts.
Keziah’s pitch-count was soaring by the fifth and that forced him to exit early, but he still fanned eight.
“We were in some situations where you can’t strike out and we struck out,” said Brian Goodnight, who is filling in for Michael Lowman as SR head coach. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting the ball in play, but overall we played with a very good team and had a chance. That’s a good sign that we’ll be OK.”
Kannapolis picked up an unearned run in the first, and Hogue belted a two-run, opposite-field homer for a 3-0 lead in the second.
“Miller threw me an outside fastball early in the count, and I went with it,” Hogue said. “I didn’t think it would carry, but it got out of here.”
A super catch in right-center by South’s Goodman with two men on in the third really helped Miller and allowed South to stay in the game.
“My mentality is that if it’s in the air it’s an out,” Goodman said. “I hustle for every flyball, and if I don’t catch it, it’s not because I didn’t give it 100-percent effort.”
Kannapolis got strong relief hurling from Luke Pepper and D.J. Smith, and it finally got the clutch hit it was searching for when Jordan Goodman delivered a two-out, two-run single off Aaron Bare in the seventh for a 5-3 lead.
South made noise in the ninth when Tyler Fuller and Martin doubled to make it 5-4. Parker Hubbard’s bunt moved the tying run to third, but Hogue ended the threat with a whiff and a popup.
“We’re gonna have these four-arm nights, but I was pleased with all our pitchers,” Kannapolis coach Joe Hubbard said. “We gave up runs early when we didn’t do our jobs defensively, but we got our focus redirected and we came out with a win.”