American Legion Baseball: Southern Rowan leaves 19 on base
LANDIS — With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Southern Rowan’s 4-5-6 hitters struck out.
That put the exclamation point on a Friday that ranked among the most frustrating nights in the program’s 20-year history. Southern Rowan left the bases loaded five times, stranded 19 runners and lost to visiting Stanly County 10-5.
“That was a game we really needed,” Southern Rowan shortstop Chandler Corriher said.
The schedule explains why Southern Rowan (11-9, 6-5) needed it. Southern Rowan will be an underdog in its final two regular-season games against Area III’s top two teams — Rowan County (Saturday) and High Point (Sunday). Southern Rowan could end up 6-7 in the league and on the road for the opening night of the playoffs on July 3.
Leadoff man Corriher entered the batter’s box six times. It’s hard not to win when that happens, but in 51 trips to the plate, Southern Rowan produced zero run-scoring hits.
Southern Rowan hitters went 0-for-9 with the bases loaded. It left the bases full in the first, second, fifth, eighth and ninth innings and stranded two in the third and fourth.
“We just couldn’t do it tonight,” Southern Rowan left fielder Shaggy Wyatt said. “We didn’t do our jobs with men on base.”
Southern Rowan scored on Eric Stowe’s bases-loaded walk in the second, Jake Pritchard’s fielder’s choice grounder in the fourth, and Matt Honeycutt’s bases-loaded HBP in the fifth.
Southern Rowan scored twice in the eighth on a wild pitch following a screaming triple to deep center by Pritchard and a two-out error on a grounder to shortstop by Wyatt.
“We got a few key hits,” said Stanly County coach and former Catawba hurler Wil Huneycutt. “We put too many guys on base with walks, but we got out of a lot of situations. We made a pitch when we had to.”
Southern Rowan had 12 hits. Corriher and Wyatt had three hits each. Eric Stowe had two.
“Their catcher (Zac Almond) throws well, so we couldn’t do much running the bases,” Corriher said. “We had to do it with our bats, and it was just a frustrating night.”
Stanly County banged out 14 hits, with Preston Burleson getting four, Carson Davis three, and Almond and Will Smith two each.
Stanly (6-14, 3-7) took charge with a three-run first and led all the way. Stanly took advantage of numerous Southern Rowan mental mistakes. Stanly got a two-run single from Smith in the eighth for an 8-3 lead and then added two more runs on a dropped flyball.
“We started flat, but then we fought back,” Southern Rowan coach Ben Hampton said. “We just had bad approaches in situations where we couldn’t afford a bad approach. Leaving the bases loaded as many times as we did — you’re not gonna win those.”
Burke Fulcher pitched seven innings for Southern Rowan and took the loss. Dylan Snider pitched the eighth and Brandon Newton worked the ninth.
Stanly starter Matthew Lambert needed 90 pitches to get through the first four innings, but he lasted seven and earned the win. Ryan Laton and Smith finished up on the mound, with Smith getting those consecutive Ks in the ninth.
Stanly County 300 011 140 — 10 14 2
Southern Rowan 010 110 020 — 5 12 2
W — Lambert. L — Fulcher.
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