Cox Mill baseball rolls past South Rowan
By David Shaw
LANDIS — Not a whole lot went right for South Rowan’s baseball team on Thursday.
There was, of course, that sky-scraping home run infielder Austin Chrismon slugged in the bottom of the fourth inning. And teammate Dawson Larrimore drew a couple of walks and stole a base. Other than that, this would have been a good night to stay home.
“We got our butts kicked,” coach Thad Chrismon said after South was crushed, 17-1, in five innings, by visiting Cox Mill. “Just a bad game.”
The misadventure included an 11-run fourth inning for the Chargers (4-1, 3-1 SPC), who moved into a five-way tie for first place with the Raiders (5-2, 3-1) and Carson, East Rowan and Robinson. Cox Mill outhit South, 13-2, and got a pair of homers from junior Kayne Pfeifer.
Winning pitcher Davis Hurd, a senior right-hander, added three hits and three RBIs — while holding South hitless and fanning nine batters in three innings.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to take a pitcher out with a no-hitter,” fourth-year coach Brandon Taylor said after the Chargers batted for 45 minutes in the top of the fourth. “Davis allowed the first couple batters to get on, but it showed a lot about his character to keep his composure and strike out the side. He didn’t let up.”
South failed to score in the last of the first after Larrimore and losing pitcher Dillon Norton coaxed walks and moved into scoring position on a none-out balk. But Hurd responded by striking out the next seven men he faced.
“We had a chance,” Chrismon said. “We just didn’t execute. That’s the bottom line.”
Norton, meanwhile, struggled with his control. The senior lefty had a meandering fastball and other pitches that were all over the shop. He persevered through 3 1/3 innings, allowed 10 runs (six earned) on seven hits. He struck out four, walked five and hit a batter.
“He struggled a little bit here and there,” said Chrismon. “But we’ve got to make plays behind him.”
South committed five errors, yielded eight unearned runs and kissed its five-game winning streak goodbye. Pfeifer reached Norton for a three-run home run in the hard-to-watch fourth inning, when Cox Mill sent 16 batters to the plate. Nine hitters later — and facing Zach Powers, the third South pitcher of the inning — Pfeifer belted a two-out grand slam that was in the books while it was still in the sky.
“Kayne is special,” Taylor said. “It’s his third year on varsity and he’s been our leadoff hitter the past two — a gap-to-gap hitter who gets on base. This year he’s older and a little stronger, so we dropped him down to the three spot. He’s really worked hard. Every time I show up at the field, he’s already in the cages.”
It was nearly 9 p.m when South first put a ball in play. Facing reliever Matt Adlerfer, outfielder Walker Joyce lined out to shortstop leading off the bottom of the fourth inning. Austin Chrismon, the coach’s son, followed with a long home run that cleared the left-field fence with room to spare.
“In the past we’ve have a tough time against the Rowan County schools,” Taylor said. “Coach Chrismon has a strong team — stronger than they showed tonight. I know they’ll rebound and do well in this league.”
Perhaps, but this was a loss that set off some alarms.
“I don’t know,” Chrismon said. “This was just one game. The same way we don’t get too high after a win, we won’t get too low after this. We’ll show up tomorrow and this will be in the past.”
NOTES: South returns to SPC action tonight at Carson. … Third-baseman Anthony Fox had South’s other hit, a clean single to left in the fourth, but was erased on an inning-ending double play. … Pfeifer’s home runs were his first in a varsity game, as was Chrismon’s.
Cox Mill 042 (11) 0 — 17 13 0
South Rowan 000 10 — 1 2 5
WP — Hurd (2-0). LP — D.Norton (x-x). HR — Pfeifer 2 (2), Chrismon (1).
Leading hitters — CM: Pfeifer 2-for-3, 2 HR, 7 RBIs; Hurd 3-for-3, 2 RS, 3 RBIs. SR: Chrismon 1-for-2, HR, RBI.