East Rowan baseball defeats Glenn, 8-2

Published 12:07 am Friday, March 18, 2016

By Mike London


GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan senior Ike Freeman came into Thursday’s game at Staton Field batting .471 and exited hitting .571.
Freeman, who will be signing with UNC in April, went 4-for-4 and led the Mustangs to an 8-2 win against Kernersville Glenn. He made it look easy. He whacked three opposite-field singles to right and smashed one up the middle.
“They were staying outside on me for the most part,” Freeman said. “I didn’t try to do too much. I was able to take some balls the other way.”
A lot of Mustangs had the same mature approach at the plate. Jordan Wise had the biggest hit for East, a bases-loaded, two-run single to right that got the Mustangs (6-1) rolling in the bottom of the first.
“They threw a crafty lefty (Davis O’Brien) at us and guys did exactly what they were supposed to do,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “We looked backside and up the middle.”
Glenn (3-4) had serious studs at the top of the lineup, but East hurlers Will Brown, Wise and Colby Myrick got the job done.
East’s defense helped. The Mustangs cut down a runner at third base in the top of the first on a perfect relay, center fielder Chander Blackwelder made several running catches, and catcher Trevor Scruggs had a whale of a game.
“I didn’t start off with strike one very often tonight,” said Brown, a sophomore who pitched four innings for the win. “But I was able to get outs with curveballs and outside fastballs. Scruggs got me through those tough innings with his framing and blocking.”
East led all the way. The Mustangs took a 4-0 lead in the first inning on a walk, two errors, four singles and Nathan Hill’s sac fly.
Glenn scored in the second, loading the bases on a single, a hit batsman and an error and getting a run when Freeman, East’s shortstop, couldn’t make a play on a ground ball.
Freeman got that run back in the bottom of the inning, sliding home as part of a double steal.
“We did almost everything perfect tonight when it came to hitting, pitching, fielding and base-running,” Freeman said. “Just a really good game for us.”
Glenn got three crisp hits from cleanup man Drew Tiano and had chances to make it a game early, but Brown made clutch pitches to strand three Bobcats in the second and two more in the third.
“Will got big strikeouts when he was in jams, and that was a great job by Scruggs behind the plate to block some balls in the dirt,” Hightower said.
Brown was involved in the most exciting play of the game. He circled the bases, smashing a triple to the wall in left-center and then charging home to boost’s East lead to 6-1 when the relay was mishandled.
“I’ve never done anything like that before,” Brown said. “I saw the ball drop and I saw Coach Hightower was wheeling me, so I laid out and slid into third. Then he asked me what I was doing. I got up and kept going, I was praying they didn’t get me out.”
East kept tacking on runs. Freeman’s RBI single in the fourth — his eighth of the season — brought home Chandler Antosek and made it 7-1. No. 9 hitter Antosek’s RBI single made it 8-1 in the fifth.
East doesn’t have a lot of regulars back from last season, but sophomores such as Brown, Antosek, Scruggs and Hayden Setzer have helped make the Mustangs the county’s pleasant surprise.
“A lot of young guys are playing big,” Freeman said. “They’re growing up fast.”
The Mustangs, 4-1 in league play, are tied for first in the South Piedmont Conference with Carson and West Rowan. East plays at West tonight.

Glenn 010 000 1 — 2 6 4
East 411 110 x — 8 11 1
W — Brown (1-0). L — O’Brien.
Hitters: Glenn: Tiano 3-for-3. East: Freeman 4-for-4, Brown 2-for-2, Antosek 2-for-3.