Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013
SPENCER — North Rowan literally played some “lights out” baseball Tuesday night in rolling to a 13-6 Yadkin Valley Conference win over visiting East Montgomery.
The Cavaliers took advantage of some Eagle wildness to go up 7-0 early, held off a middle inning rally, then closed it out with a flourish in the late stages. The “lights out” part came in the bottom of the fifth just as North scored twice to go up 10-6. The ball park suddenly went to total darkness causing an unexpected 20 minute delay before power was restored.
“I am not sure what happened there,” North Coach Aaron Rimer said. “I am no electrician. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to finish or not.”
The interruption had no effect on the Cav players, however, as pitchers Clint Veal and freshman lefty Brandon White kept the Eagles at bay. Veal (2-2) went 5 1/3 for the win scattering eight hits and fanning five. White came on in the sixth and finished it off to earn his first save.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight,” Veal said. “So I just tried to throw strikes, get ahead, and let my defense work behind me. The defense really did great.”
North (4-6, 7-7) actually was outhit by East Montgomery 10-8 but got the big blows when they needed it from Chance Mazza and Thomas Tucker. Mazza had two singles and two RBI in the early innings then Tucker cranked a pair of hits and drove in two in the late innings.
He also made several stellar plays at shortstop including an unassisted double play to snuff out an early East Montgomery threat.
“It usually takes me about half the game to start seeing the ball well,” Tucker said, “but then I started hitting it.”
His single and stolen base in the fifth sparked a two run rally to put the Cavs ahead 10-6 then his two run single helped ice the game in the sixth with three more and the 13-6 final.
“That was really a scrappy game both ways tonight” Rimer said. “I am just glad we competed all seven innings and just played the game the right way.”
The Eagles (3-7, 6-9) hurt themselves early with six wild pitches, and three errors that allowed North to plate five in the second. Starter Hunter Stephens also walked 3 in taking the loss but he made up for some of it at the plate with a towering two run homer to left in the fourth. They put together four hits in the 5th to cut the lead to 8-6 but could get no closer.
“Our guys fought hard and played hard”, East coach Sean Hassell said, “but I guess the pressure got to us early and put us in a hole. But we didn’t quit.”
Although everyone in the YVC is chasing league leader South Stanly, North was able to climb the ladder in the standings a little bit and assure a play-off shot.
“Every conference game is huge,” Rimer said. “We’ve got good teams top to bottom.”
North turns around tonight to face county rival Carson at home, if the lights stay on.