Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — Salisbury coach Scott Maddox should have had Sleet leading off, with Rain batting second and Slick in the hole.
Weather conditions were borderline playable at CMC-NorthEast Stadium on Thursday when the game began and deteriorated from there. Robinson beat Salisbury 9-1 in an F&M Bank Clasic contest mercifully stopped and declared official after the Hornets batted in the top of the fifth. Kannapolis was experiencing a downpour at that point, and with temperatures in the lower half of the 40s, a miserable time was being had by all.
“Hard to believe it’s April, with this weather,” groaned Maddox “I know it was tough for anyone to be focused on baseball today — players, coaches or umpires. But Robinson played in the same conditions that we did, and they played a lot better.”
Salisbury (6-7) actually had won four straight games coming in, but Thursday looked like the first day of practice. It was a step back, and Maddox hopes the team didn’t lose the momentum it had built up.
The Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Riley Myers walked, moved around the bases with the help of Ryan Jones’ infield hit, and scored on a wild pitch.
But the bottom of the first was a disaster of epic proportions. Salisbury left-hander Chance Bowden still had a no-hitter after that first inning— but he was down 3-1.
Robinson leadoff man Josh Macek’s routine flyball to right field was dropped. Then Landon Cochran reached safely when the throw was dropped at first base on his bouncer to third.
When Philip Perry followed with a bunt, it got crazy. Bowden fielded the ball, whirled and fired to first base only to see that the first baseman had charged in. Bowden’s throw headed somewhere down the right-field line.
Robinson (7-6) wound up getting three runs out of those gifts and never looked back in winning its second straight game in the Classic. Cabarrus is 2-5 in the event, and Robinson, which beat East Rowan Wednesday, owns both wins.
The challenge for Robinson coach Jason Sarvis has been to win when Perry doesn’t pitch, and sophomore J.T. Austin handled mound chores efficiently.
Austin had two 1-2-3 innings and held the Hornets to four hits. Jones, Ben Ritchie, Brian Bauk and Harrison Smith managed singles.
Robinson drew walks, scored three times on groundouts and pulled away with two runs in the second and four more in the fourth. Bowden got one out in the fourth before Clint Swaim relieved him.
“Chance pitched well today,” Maddox said. “But we dropped two straight balls that hit us squarely in the glove. It’s my fault that we had some guys playing positions today that aren’t their normal positions, but you still have to catch the ball. Robinson got nine runs on just five hits.”

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