Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013
LANDIS — A light schedule presented the Southern Rowan American Legion team with an opportunity to be creative, and all nine of the team’s pitchers hurled an inning apiece in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory against the Mooresville Moors.
“That’s the first time a committee has ever gotten anything done,” quipped assistant coach/resident comedian Rick Hampton.
Southern Rowan hadn’t played since May 31 and won’t play again until June 11, so the committee of arms made a lot of sense. Everyone needed some time on the hill, so Aaron Bare Tyler Sides, Dillon Atwell, Billy Winecoff, Blake Cauble, Austin Bracewell, Ben Gragg, Dillon Parker and John Daugherty took turns on the bump.
“The idea to use all nine pitchers came from a collaboration of the coaches,” head coach Ben Hampton explained. “It was a good chance to look at everybody, and we told them they’d all go one inning and not to hold anything back. They all threw well.”
Atwell allowed the Moors’ run in the third when he hit Michael Elwell with a pitch with the bases full.
Sides, Winecoff, Bracewell and Daugherty worked 1-2-3 innings. Gragg and Parker pitched out of two-on jams.
All told, the Moors (5-7) managed just four singles, and Southern Rowan (6-4) played sharp defense, with the outfielders showing a lot of range on soggy grass.
“They’ve got a good team and a lot of good players, and they’re better than we are right now,” Moors coach Seth Graham said. “We had more errors than we had hits, and it’s hard to win when you do that. Errors have kind of been our downfall all year, but we know we’re going to be playing better toward the end.”
Southern Rowan took charge with three runs in the first. Tyler Fuller and Eric Tyler had solid hits, Dylan Goodman lashed a sacrifice fly, and the home team took advantage of two errors.
Southern, which started the year 5-1, snapped a three-game losing streak.
“We played nine games straight to start the year, and we just hit a lull the last few games and got away from what we want to do as a team offensively,” Ben Hampton said. “We got back to our kind of baseball tonight. Guys went up to the plate having a purpose instead of just going up there swinging. “
South accumulated a modest eight hits, but a lot of balls were struck hard. Tyler, who worked for two days at shortening his stride, had three hits. Connor Bridges had two hits. Ben Gragg was unlucky, hammering into two double plays, but he got on base twice and stole three bases.
“If we had lost, it was a loss we would’ve have to sit on for a while, so it was important to get a win to get our momentum back,” Tyler said.
Tyler joked that “Johnny Wholestaff” pitched a whale of a game, and he was right. Cauble, who tossed the fifth, got credit for the win.
Blake’s father, assistant coach Chris, served the first game of a suspension after his first ejection in 14 years last Saturday.