KERNERSVILLE — Game 1 of this Area III semi-final series was tense and dramatic. Game 2 was simply a pinball machine.
Rowan County powered two homers in the first, led 6-0 in the second and 8-4 in the third. Then Kernersville Post 36 flipped the game completely upside down and cruised to a 15-10 win at home Tuesday night.
The result leaves Rowan (22-9) down 2-0 in the best of five series with a do-or-die game at Newman Park tonight. The significance of game three is not lost on Coach Jim Gantt.
“Its a huge challenge like climbing Mount Everest,” Gantt said. “But that is where we are now and I expect our guys to come out and play hard.”
In the homer friendly confines of Nelson Field at East Forsyth High, Rowan got dingers in the first from Harrison Baucom and Justin Evans, both with men on base.
Kernersville (28-6) responded with a solo shot by Jamison Nagle in the second and capped the win with a two run moon shot in the 8th by big first baseman Zach Scudder.
Scudder led the 19 hit Post 36 attack off four Rowan pitchers as he went 4-for-5 with five runs batted in. They finally caught Rowan in the fourth at 8-8 then never looked back with two in the fifth and three more in the sixth keyed by Evan Rogers’ two-run double.
“I am just glad our guys responded,” Post 36 coach Chad Loflin said. “They could have easily laid down early but they stepped it up and fought back.”
Much of the credit for the comeback goes to South Stokes product Mitchell Edwards who went seven relief innings for the win, including five innings of one hit ball that cooled off the hot start for Rowan.
“I just tried to keep the ball low and keep them off-balance,” Edwards said. “Plus we have a great defense especially the middle infield.”
Ryan Jones took the loss in relief of Connor Johnson. Clint Veal and Heath Mitchem also threw. Nine walks by Rowan contributed to the loss.
Baucom, Evans and Chance Bowden had two RBIs each for Rowan.