Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — Hunter Teeter’s three-run homer in the top of the seventh looked like it would merely ice the cake.
Instead, it was an insurance policy that West Rowan cashed in to hold off A.L. Brown 11-8 in a wild Friday afternoon game in the F&M Bank Classic at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.
“I got a 2-0 count, was looking fastball down the middle, and that’s exactly what I got,” Teeter said. “I haven’t been hitting as well as I want to, but I’m starting to see the ball pretty good now.”
It helped Teeter that he pulled his shot to left field. It also helped that he wasn’t required to fight off raindrops or sleet or snow or wind as he took his hacks. For a change, it was a beautiful day for baseball.
“You could see people wearing T-shirts,” Teeter said. “That was nice.”
West is 13-2 overall and 11-0 against teams outside Rowan County, but it was in a major mess early against the struggling Wonders (2-12).
Zeb Ritchie’s two-run, opposite field double keyed Brown’s four-run first inning.
“We didn’t make some plays early, but we didn’t get down,” Teeter said. “We just decided to hit and come back.”
West regained control with a five-run second against A.L. Brown starter Trace Hagler. That inning included back-to-back-to-back doubles that were ripped by Harrison Baucom, Michael Pinkston and Taylor Garczynski.
“That’s a very good baseball team,” A.L. Brown coach Empsy Thompson said. “They can hit and they can run and put pressure on you. Offensively, they are easily the best team we’ve faced all season.”
Left-hander Justin Evans (4-1) was also a big part of the story for the Falcons. He survived that rocky first inning to get the win.
“He did struggle early, but he regrouped,” West coach Chad Parker said. “I gave him a little pep talk in the second inning — ‘Hey, you’re the guy, let’s go’ — and he went out there, he dialed in and he put up four zeroes. That gave us a chance to hit the baseball.”
A double by Nick Collins, a clutch single by Bubba McLaughlin and Pinkston’s third RBI of the day pushed West’s lead to 8-4 in the fourth.
Kameron Sherrill’s two-out, two-run single in the sixth finally knocked out Evans, but Collins relieved and stranded the tying runs.
After Teeter’s longball provided some cushion, Collins weaved his way through the bottom of the seventh. He allowed runs on Caleb Falls’ sac fly and J.P. Patterson’s double, but he ended the game with a strikeout and earned a save.
West pounded 13 hits and drew nine walks.
“We didn’t pitch it well enough or make enough plays to beat them,” Thompson said. “But we fought all the way. I saw a lot of things I liked.”