Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2013
KANNAPOLIS — South Rowan found a way to spin straw into gold Friday night.
In a game that made terrible art but intriguing drama, the Raiders rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Concord 8-7.
“We feel very fortunate to come away with a win there,” coach Thad Chrismon sighed after South (10-3) earned its second victory in this week’s F&M Classic at CMC-Northeast Stadium. “I guess it’s ironic that good baseruning by Eric (Tyler) won it, but we made some baserunning mistakes early that prevented us from scoring some runs. You know, you give and you take.”
South grabbed its sixth consecutive win when Tyler and teammate Dylan Goodman each scored on a game-ending wild pitch by losing pitcher Colby Readling. A match that see-sawed over the final two innings landed in SR’s lap when Tyler beat a relay throw and slid across the plate, scoring the decisive run by hustling all the way home from second base.
“I saw Dylan go and was running as fast as I can,” Tyler said. “Really, I never stopped.”
It brought an end to a dehydrating game that South could have secured an inning earlier when pinch-hitter Eric Stowe lined a two-out, RBI single to left-center that gave the Raiders a 6-5 lead. But with two away and a runner on first in the top of the seventh, Concord’s Cody Franklin sent a low, heat-seeking missle toward SR right fielder Tyler Fuller.
“We always say if you’re going to make a mistake, make it going all out,” Tyler said. “And he did.”
“Two outs, a guy on first,” added Goodman, the South center fielder who went 3-for-5 and stole two bases. “You just want to keep the ball in front of you. But I can’t knock him. He tried to make an aggressive play. It didn’t work out.”
Instead, the ball whistled past the diving Fuller and rolled to the right-field wall. By the time it was returned to the infield Franklin had circled the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park homer.
“I guarantee you he saw the ball in the air coming in his direction and he wanted to make the last out,” Chrismon said. “We’ll use that as a learning experience.”
It set the stage for South’s seventh-inning heroics, all of which unfolded after Readling retired the first two SR batters.
Goodman provided a pulse when he bounced a groundball single into right.
“Just trying to stay relaxed,” he said. “I wanted to get something started and put a good swing on the ball. I got one I could control.”
After Goodman stole second, Tyler coaxed a walk — and both runners advanced a base on a passed ball. That’s when a 1-2 pitch to Dillon Parker skipped past catcher Chance Clark and started the game-winning carousel.
“The main thing is a win’s a win,” Tyler said, almost defensively. “Now we get to play (today) and try to go 3-0.”