Legion baseball: Errors doom Southern

Published 8:24 pm Saturday, May 30, 2015

KANNAPOLIS — Not a whole lot went right for Southern Rowan on Saturday.

The locals committed eight errors and watched unbeaten High Point wear out the basepaths in an abbreviated 18-1 non-league loss.

“This was an overall lack of focus,” coach Ben Hampton said at Northwest Cabarrus High School, where Southern Rowan yielded 12 unearned runs and fell to 4-2. “They’re a good team. They put the ball in play, forced us to make plays. We just didn’t make plays.”

Instead it made it easy for Post 87, which collected 17 hits in seven innings and won its seventh game. The HiToms batted around in the second and sixth innings and put on a laser show, spraying line drives all over the park.

“We just let errors get the best of us,” said Southern first-baseman Chase Labbe. “They were squaring the ball up, hitting it where we weren’t.”

The debacle began in the top of the first when Southern southpaw Blake Johnson surrendered three base hits and a sac fly by Jake Moebius. Southern Rowan quickly responded against winning pitcher Justin Olczak, a right-hander headed to Francis Marion University in fall. Leadoff batter Chandler Corriher reached on an infield error, and Eric Stowe smoked a run-scoring double down the right-field line to tie the score.

“We went to the plate with pretty good approaches,” Hampton said. “We got down 1-0 and quickly tied it up. But after that we fell apart. We were missing cutoff men, not getting lined up where we’re supposed to be, throwing to the wrong base.”

High Point cracked the game open in the top of the second when it sent 13 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on seven hits. Two Southern errors proved costly, and Johnson was dismissed after allowing nine hits in 1-1/3 innings.

Burke Fulcher relieved and swept up the mess, but his day ended after 4-1/3 head-scratching innings. He was tagged for five hits and eight runs, all of them unearned. The last pitch he threw was to High Point infielder Zach McLean, who barbecued a sixth-inning fastball for a three-run homer to left.

“We struck the ball well,” said High Point coach Rob Shore. “And we capitalized on their errors. Offensively, I have no complaints. In that second inning we hit the ball very hard, which sometimes induces errors. That made some long innings even longer.”

Southern put a total of five runners on base and never threatened again. Olczak scattered four hits, struck out five and walked none in six innings. He retired 14 of 15 batters during one stretch.

Afterward Stowe indicated Southern Rowan had “the wrong mindset” and was thankful the game doesn’t count in the league standings.

Labbe widened the lens.

“This makes us realize there are other teams out there trying to get the same things we are,” he said. “Now, we know we have to give 100 percent every game.”


High Point  172 006 2 — 18  17  1

Southern Rowan 100 000 0 — 1  4  8

WP — Olczak (2-0). LP — Johnson (1-1). HR — McLean (HP).