Legion baseball playoffs: Rowan 4, Legends 2
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Brian Bauk had the sort of stuff on Tuesday that can produce no-hitters.
“Mooresville couldn’t sit on something straight,” Rowan County coach Jim Gantt said. “Nothing Bauk was throwing was straight. His fastball had a lot of cutting action.”
Bauk (2-2) said he was throwing with his natural motion, but his hard stuff was moving more than usual.
Bauk lost his no-hitter in the sixth, but Rowan beat the fourth-seeded Mooresville Legends 4-2 to take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series. Game 3 is at Mooresville tonight.
Only two Legends (10-11) reached base in the first five innings, one on Bauk’s lone walk, the other on an error.
“Sure, I knew I had a no-hitter,” Bauk said. “I was just hoping nobody would say anything (to jinx it).”
With one out in the top of the sixth, youngster Tommy Bullock chopped a high bouncer off Bauk’s glove for an infield hit. That scratch single preceded Mooresville slugger Joe Cobb’s two-run homer over the wall in left field.
“Just a bad mistake,” Bauk said. ‘Threw a high fastball to a good high fastball hitter.”
That one missed spot cut Rowan’s lead to 3-2 but didn’t cost Bauk the game.
The last time Bauk pitched, he was outstanding but got zero run support in a 1-0 loss. This time was different. One-out singles by Alex Morgan and Chase Hathcock off Legends starter Jack Kolls in the second were followed by a two-run double to the right-field wall by Greg Tonnesen.
“Coach Gantt tells us that we need to execute better with runners in scoring position,” Tonnesen said. “I got a fastball to hit, and it felt good.”
Fifth-seeded Rowan (14-15) had a chance to break it open in the fifth when it filled the bases with no outs, but hard-throwing Ryan Brennan relieved Kolls, and Rowan settled for just one run on Nathan Fulbright’s groundout.
Rowan inched its lead to 4-2 in the eighth when Jared Mathis doubled to right, advanced on Morgan’s grounder and got such a quick break off third he was able to score, even with the infield in, on Hathcock’s grounder to short.
Alex Bost closed impressively for Rowan in the ninth.
“It’s not like we dominated or put up 10 runs,” Bauk said. “But I still felt like we owned this game from the start.”
It was a terrific game.
“We’re banged up and shorthanded, but we still got to the ninth inning with a chance to win it,” Mooresville coach Johnny Meadows said. “We put a scare into ’em.”