Legion baseball: Rowan falls flat against Stanly

Published 10:58 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015

SALISBURY — If the Rowan County has you confused this season, you’re not alone.

Even coach Jim Gantt was scratching his head after Thursday’s 8-2 loss to visiting Stanly County.

“It’s too early for me to tell,” he said after Rowan County fell to 2-4 in non-league games. “I like some of the guys we have offensively. I like some of the arms we have on the mound. We’ve been pitching them in a way that’s not so much conducive to winning games as it is to developing pitchers.”

Rowan paraded five pitchers to the mound against Post 76, but none was as effective as Stanly starter Matt Lambert. The right-hander will graduate from North Stanly High next week and has drawn interest from Division III programs.

“We’re trying to drum up some business for him,” winning coach Nathan Davis said after Stanly County (4-6) won its second straight. “What he did tonight he does every time out. He commands the mound, hits his spots and understands pitch counts.”

Lambert scattered seven hits over eight innings and won his second game. He struck out eight, walked three and allowed only a third-inning run on a wild pitch. Blending a fastball packed with precision and attitude with a horizontal curve that tantalized Rowan hitters before spinning off the plate, he threw first-pitch strikes to 27 of the 33 batters he faced.

“He was commanding the zone from his first pitch to the end of the eighth inning,” said Stanly catcher Zac Almond. “He was a catcher’s dream tonight.”

Almond delivered a crushing blow in the top of the third when he launched a 2-2 fastball from Noah Jarrett over the left-field wall for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead.

“It was up and in, right at his hands,” said Rowan catcher Lee Poteat. “We were trying to push him inside.”

Rowan’s Harrison Baucom — who played with Almond in last year’s All-Star Game at Newman Park — questioned whether his friend got all of the pitch.

“I don’t think he really squared it up,” said Baucom, who collected three of RC’s nine hits. “On the home run or the double.”

By the sixth inning it was a 7-1 game, thanks to a couple of unearned runs. Almond (2-for-3, three RBIs) delivered Stanly’s final run on an eighth-inning groundout against reliever J.T. Austin. Rowan County pinch hitter Pierce Wilhelm stroked a leadoff double against Stanly’s David Singletary in the ninth and scored when Baucom whipped a two-out, ground-ball single to left.

“It was a weird game,” Baucom said afterward. “I don’t think the intensity was there. But it’s all part of a process.”


Stanly County 003 013 010 — 8  8  0

Rowan County 001 000 001 — 2  9  2

WP — Lambert (2-0). LP — Jarrett (0-2). HR — Almond (SC).