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American Legion Baseball: Southern Rowan to face Mocksville

The Southern Rowan program has competed in 122 American Legion playoff games, but none of them have been against Mocksville-Davie.
That will change on Friday at 7 p.m. when Southern Rowan hosts Mocksville in the opening game of a best-of-three first-round series. Southern Rowan is in the playoffs for the 17th time in its 20-year history, although making the playoffs was never in doubt this summer. All 14 Area III teams are participating in the postseason.
Both Southern Rowan (11-11) and Mocksville (8-14) finished 6-7 in Area III league games. They were part of a three-way tie for seventh place along with Winston-Salem. Winston-Salem beat Southern Rowan. Southern Rowan beat Mocksville. Mocksville beat Winston-Salem.
Winston-Salem was granted the No. 7 seed in the tiebreaking process by virtue of its victory against No. 2 seed High Point. Southern Rowan got the No. 8 seed — and home-field advantage for the first round — by virtue of allowing fewer runs in league games than Mocksville, the No. 9 seed.
“We’re fortunate to get home field in the first round,” Southern Rowan coach Ben Hampton said. “The ball hasn’t bounced our way in the close games, but we’ve weathered some tough breaks and stayed on an even keel and had a decent season.”
Game 2 in the series will be played at Mocksville’s Mando Field at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the early start time due to the annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Rich Park.
Game 3, if needed, would be played at South Rowan High on Sunday night.
The winner of the Southern Rowan-Mocksville series advances to a best-of-five second round against top-seeded Rowan County at Newman Park on July 6. While Southern Rowan hasn’t played Rowan County in a playoff series since 1997, Mocksville (8-14) has been virtually an annual playoff opponent for Rowan County.
Southern Rowan defeated Mocksville 12-4 on June 9 in their only meeting this summer.
Southern Rowan dropped its last three games of the regular season but played well in a 2-1 loss at High Point in its regular-season finale.
“We’ve had some low spots and that (22-2) loss to Rowan County last Saturday was definitely a low spot, but the guys came right back and played a great game at High Point,” Hampton said. “We’ve had stretches where we’ve swung the bats well and hopefully we can get back to that in the playoffs.”
Mocksville played its best baseball down the stretch.
Hampton said Southern Rowan will send veteran Dillon Atwell, a big part of the program for five seasons, to the mound in Friday’s series opener.

NOTES: Southern Rowan is 59-63 in playoff games. Southern Rowan won its first-round series against Stanly County last season before being swept by the Mooresville Moors in Round 2. Southern Rowan is 262-301 all-time.

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