Legion Baseball: Mooresville Moors 11, Rowan 7
By Mike London
SALISBURY — When Rowan County meekly and quietly lost to the Mooresville Moors 5-1 on the road last week, coach Jim Gantt glumly commented that it was “like watching paint dry.”
On Wednesday at Newman Park, fans got to watch that paint peel. It took nearly 21/2 hours to play the last four innings of Rowan’s 11-7 loss in a rematch with the Moors that moved with the speed of a glacier.
“With hindsight, there’s a lot of things I’d have done differently tonight,” Gantt said. “It was just a really disappointing game.”
Rowan sent 45 men to the dish, while the Moors sent 43. A whopping 17 batters walked.
Rowan used six pitchers — seven if you count the Dakota Brown who relieved starter Clint Veal and the Dakota Brown who relieved reliever Alex Bost as two different people.
Veal wasn’t bad at all for five innings, but Rowan’s bullpen, as a whole, didn’t get it done.
“The plan was to take a lot pitches and get to Mooresville’s bullpen, and we did that,” Gantt said. “But they also got to our pen.”
When Rowan pulled within 4-2 in the sixth, the Moors used three straight walks to push the lead to 7-2. And when Rowan and clawed its way within 7-6 after eight, the Moors simply scored four in the ninth to finally seal it.
“Those insurance runs were huge because an awful lot can happen in this park,” Mooresville coach Jeremy Johnson said. “Everyone in our lineup battled and contributed. You win a ballgame here, it’s an accomplishment.”
It was two completely different games, really.
Veal and Mooresville starter Logan Beegle, the same guy who beat Rowan last week, were both effective, but the Moors used aggressive baserunning to take a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
That’s when the game changed. Jared Mathis pulled his second homer of the season (also Rowan’s second) with Nathan Fulbright on base, and Rowan finally had momentum.
“Their pitcher had a good changeup, but he threw me one that stayed up,” Mathis said.
Rowan fought on just about every at-bat after that, but it never made it all the way back against relievers Derek Petrosky and Alex Cagide.
“We got more than enough people on base to win,” Gantt said. “But we took a lot of called third strikes and hit too many balls in the air.”
The Moors (9-5, 6-5) got three RBIs each from Sam Marshall and Nathan Sharpe and swept the season series from Rowan (9-12, 6-7).
The last time Rowan experienced a losing season was 1989, but that long, proud streak is in some jeopardy.
“We’ll beat that team next time,” Mathis vowed.
But there’s no guarantee there will be a next time.