• 70°

F&M Bank Classic: Hornets slug their way into tournament final

By Mike London


KANNAPOLIS — Salisbury coach Scott Maddox didn’t mention it, but last season’s embarrassing 17-3 loss to Northwest Cabarrus in the F&M Bank Classic had not been forgotten by his veterans.

The Hornets got some payback on Saturday, beating the Trojans, 10-7, in a tournament semifinal and advancing to Monday’s 6:30 p.m. championship game against Jay M. Robinson at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.

The 2A Salisbury team (8-3) was considered the least likely of the three Rowan County teams in the event to make the final, but it pounded out 13 hits. That was enough to compensate for the Hornets’ defensive mistakes the walks issued.

“I’m proud of the guys because we’ve won more than we did all of last year when we went 7-17,” Maddox said. “It’s not like we played that well — we really didn’t play well at all — but we did hit well and I liked the leadership our older players showed.”

The Hornets had a month’s worth of two-out hits. They scored their first eight runs with two men out.

“When you play as a team and someone gets a hit, then everyone hits,” senior Ryan Jones said. “Guys did a really good job with two outs, and for the second straight game, we scored a lot of runs.”

Everyone in Maddox’s lineup had at least one hit. Jones had three. Riley Myers and Alex Yang had two each.

Two-out singles by Alex Yang and winning pitcher Harrison Smith gave the Hornets a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning. They never lost it.

“We took live batting practice and that helped, and then we had good approaches at the plate,” second baseman Alex Yang said. “Pitches that were away, we hit hard up the middle and to the opposite field.”

Jones and Myers delivered two-out hits in a three-run second inning for a 5-1 lead. Myers’ two-out triple and a run-scoring single by J.T. Austin made it 7-2 in the fourth inning. John Yang’s two-out double made it 8-4, an inning later.

“Besides hitting well, we ran the bases aggressively,” Maddox said.  “I made a mistake last year by being too conservative. We’re running more this year. We’ll make some outs on the bases, but it’s been paying off.”

Northwest Cabarrus (3-8) got a two-run single from Adam Barrows in the fifth frame to stay in the game and put pressure on the Hornets in the sixth when a tiring Smith walked three straight batters to start the inning. Jones relieved Smith with the Hornets ahead, 8-4. Alex Rodriguez hit into a force play for the first out, but a run scored to make it 8-5.

Then Jones threw the biggest pitch of the game. He got a comeback grounder for an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.

“The first thing I had to do was make sure I caught the ball, and I could already hear (shortstop) Riley Myers shouting to me,” Jones said. “We’ve got a connection. As soon as I made a good throw to second base, I knew we had the double play.”

Myers threw a lot of passes to Jones on the football field. This time Jones made a completion to Myers.

Even after Salisbury tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on RBIs by Austin and Chandler Lippard, it wasn’t easy. NWC scored twice in the seventh on a clutch, two-out hit by Chris Monteleone, but Jones got a game-ending strikeout with the tying run at the plate.

Smith helped himself with the defensive play of the game on a barehand pickup and off-balance throw to get an out in the fourth inning.

Maddox has coached the Hornets since 2001 and doesn’t remember them ever being in an Easter tournament championship game, so Monday will be something new. He has no plans to use his ace, as Myers will be pitching Tuesday’s CCC game against North Rowan. Jones and freshmen Griffin Myers and Lippard are the likely hurlers for the Hornets.

“We’re excited, but it’s not like we’re just excited to be in the championship game,” Alex Yang said. “We want to win it.”

Northwest will play South Rowan for third place at 4 p.m. on Monday.

NW Cabarrus     101  021  2 — 7    10    3

Salisbury            230  212   x — 10   13   2

W — Smith (4-1). S — Jones (1). L — Rodriguez.








Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301


Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map


Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers


One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list


No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road


RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years


Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet


Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament


Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina


House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot


Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?


Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road


Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business


Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges


Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting


Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest


N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding


RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest


Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction


Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured