Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013
LANDIS — Southern Rowan catcher Bryson Prugh likes left field.
He enjoyed playing out there on Tuesday in an emergency situation with half his teammates at the beach, and he enjoyed rocketing line drives over the left-field fence.
Prugh homered twice as a patchwork-quilt squad got five runs scored from Tyler Fuller and stout pitching from Tyler Sides and took a surprising 15-10 decision against a Randolph County squad loaded with college players.
“Walks really hurt Randolph tonight, but they put on a show in batting practice, and that’s a star-studded lineup they’ve got over there, no doubt,” SR coach Ben Hampton said.
Prugh, a rising senior at Carson, said he’d played one game in left field for the Cougars as a freshman, so he had more experience than some of his teammates.
John Daugherty plays all over the place, but no one could recall him ever playing center field, where he made a great running catch racing to the wall.
Relief pitcher Austin Bracewell manned first base. Reliever T.J. Brackett played second base. Starting pitcher Dillon Atwell played third base — and batted cleanup. Part-time shortstop Eric Goldston anchored the infield.
“It was a weird lineup,” Prugh said with a laugh. “But I guess it worked pretty well.”
Hampton’s team (7-4) didn’t have many options.
“Bracewell hadn’t played a position in five years,” Hampton said. “But he comes up to me before the game and says, ‘Hey, Coach, I’m feeling it.’”
They all were. Bracewell got on base three times. So did Brackett. Brackett even hammered a double. Atwell knocked in three runs.
Randolph (10-2) didn’t get the job done on the mound — 11 walks, four HBPS — but it put a scary team on the field.
Southern Rowan didn’t get Dylan Prevatte out all night, and he crushed a monstrous, opposite-field grand slam in the eighth that turned a 14-6 romp into a 14-10 ballgame.
Prugh had four hits and reached base six straight times, but Sides’ effort was equally important.
“He’s an A.L. Brown kid, so we didn’t know much about him,” Hampton said. “He’d pitched middle relief, but this game was a chance to look at him as a starter and see what he could do.”
Sides, a rising sophomore at Mars Hill, allowed three runs in the top of the first.
“I just hadn’t settled in yet,” Sides said. “They got three, but then we came in and put up four, and that helped a lot. I adjusted to the strike zone and we made the plays.”
SR’s four-run first was the product of two swings. Prugh belted a two-run homer after Fuller walked. After Daugherty walked, Matt Honeycutt whacked a two-run bomb.
“I got a pitch inside and belt-high, and I wanted to put as good a swing on it as I could,” Honeycutt said.
His good swing produced his first homer since seventh grade. Honeycutt is a quality catcher — he threw out two basestealers — but he’s behind Eric Tyler and Prugh, so he doesn’t start often.
Atwell’s two-run single keyed a five-run fourth that gave SR a 10-4 lead. Daugherty’s fine catch ended the sixth, and Fuller chased down a ball hit over his head in deep right to end the fifth.
“I was pretty sure I had it,” Fuller said. “It was like playing safety in football.”
Sides pitched six. Bracewell worked the seventh and eighth. Daugherty closed it.
“Randolph hit some balls where your head flies back and you just say, ‘Oh, Lord, please stay in the park,’ ” Hampton said. “I’m not naive. I know how good Randolph is. But I couldn’t be prouder of how our guys competed.”