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From staff reports

Rowan County hosts Southern Rowan at Newman Park tonight.
It’s not only a rivalry game, it also will mark the first of the eight contests that actually matter in the standings for both teams.
Rowan and Southern Rowan are both part of the five-team Southeast Division of Area III, along with Kannapolis, Concord and Stanly. Four of those five teams will make the playoffs. Kannapolis is at Stanly tonight.
Southern Rowan has been streaky and has put together a five-game winning streak and a four-game losing skid.
Rowan County enjoyed a three-game winning streak early, but in its last six outings it has alternated losses and wins.
“Getting up for every game this season has never been an issue for us, whether they counted in the standings or not,” Rowan catcher Nathan Fulbright said. “We’ve been able to build and build this team. I think we’ve laid a strong foundation, and we’re ready to come into our own.”
Rowan has had some impressive efforts, including blowouts of Kernersville and Cherryville and a big comeback win at High Point. Kernersville and High Point are regarded as top contenders for Area III’s two berths in the state tourney.
Rowan stands 8-6 overall after hammering the Mooresville Legends 16-3 on Saturday.
Southern Rowan has an 8-5 mark after losing 4-0 to the Mooresville Moors on Saturday.
“Hopefully Saturday’s win will give us some momentum that we can take into Sunday’s game,” Rowan second baseman Chase Hathcock said. “It should be a very good game. We’re right beside each other and we know each other, and there should be a whole lot of people in the ballpark.”
Rowan has dominated the series between the county programs, winning 30 of the 38 matchups since the South Rowan program was started in 1996. (See Scoreboard).
Rowan has lost only twice in the series at Newman Park — in 2000 and 2006.
Rowan coach Jim Gantt indicated that Brian Bauk will start on the mound against Southern Rowan, with Connor Johnson set to work Monday’s game at Stanly.
Former Rowan Legion player Ben Hampton is piloting the Southern Rowan team. Assistant Chris Cauble is still out of action following an ejection.

Prep track

Salisbury rising junior Jaleesa Smoot finished 18th in the 200 meters in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro on Saturday.

Junior Legion

Matt Saul pitched Carson to a 6-0 win against Rowan County on Saturday in a non-league game.
Saul allowed only three hits. Matt Jones, Michael Morrison and Ryan Bearden led Carson offensively.
Carson plays a doubleheader at South Rowan today.
• The Kannapolis Junior Legion team won 2-0 against Stanly in a league game.
Nathan Watson (4-0) pitched a complete game. Alex Rodriguez had Kannapolis’ only hit.
• Rowan County is at West Rowan tonight.

Minor leagues

Micah Johnson singled, tripled, homered and drove in three runs as the Kannapolis Intimidators (26-41) beat the Rome Braves 10-8 on Saturday at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.
• Jerry Sands (Catawba) hit his sixth homer of the season on Friday for Indianapolis.
Sands has 24 RBIs.

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