American Legion Baseball: Mocksville at Rowan County
MOCKSVILLE — Mocksville-Davie starts its second-round, best-of-five series against top-seeded and well-rested Rowan County at Newman Park on Monday with nothing to lose.
Mocksville has played Rowan County 17 times in playoff series over the years and has lost 17 times.
Even when Mocksville owned a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series in 2012, it lost to Rowan County.
Still, Rowan County coach Jim Gantt and Mocksville coach Charles Kurfees will tell you that while history is interesting and while Rowan-Mocksville history is well-known to the fans of both programs, what happened 20 years ago or five years ago or even last year doesn’t mean very much to the teenagers who will take the field for their respective teams.
Mocksville (10-15) is seeded ninth and lost badly (16-0) to Rowan County in the regular season, but Mocksville has a better team than it sounds.
Mocksville has some defensive issues, but it showed in a first-round sweep of Southern Rowan that it can hit up and down the lineup and that it has pitchers who don’t rattle. Mocksville pounded 33 hits and walked zero batters in its two games against Southern Rowan.
Mocksville has won seven of its last eight games, a streak that includes victories against Kernersville and Winston-Salem.
“In Legion ball, you deal with all the senior stuff and all the beach stuff, but then you get to that point where guys are ready to play baseball,” Kurfees said. “We had some stretches that weren’t good, but we’ve played our best ball the last two weeks.”
Kurfees respects Rowan County’s hitting and pitching, but he believes it’s Rowan’s aggressive baserunning that separates it from most teams.
“The key for us is to play good defense and defense has been the area where we’ve struggled the most,” Kurfees said. “Rowan is fast and puts a lot of pressure on your defense with speed. Every little bobble you make means they take another base.”
Rowan (17-5) hasn’t played since June 29. Rowan will have all its pitchers available, while Mocksville used three pitchers on Saturday and Sunday to settle its series with Southern Rowan.
Still, extra rest can lead to rust, so you never know what will happen. It could be an interesting series.
“I like the way we’re hitting the ball and we’ve got a good group of guys playing hard for each other,” Kurfees said. “We’re going to compete as hard as we can.”