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Prep Baseball: South holds on, still tied for first

Staff report

CONCORD — South Rowan baseball coach Thad Chrismon breathed a sigh of relief after Wednesday’s South Piedmont Conference road win.

“They’re all big,” Chrismon said. “Every single win is big, and road wins are especially tough to get.”

South (7-2, 5-1 SPC) held on to beat Hickory Ridge, 6-4.  South stayed tied for first place with neighbor Carson, a 2-1 winner over Northwest Cabarrus.

It’s a crazy league. Seven of the 10 teams are above .500 in the standings, and two-time defending champ West Rowan is surging.

“Competitive, as always,” Chrismon said.

It was an unusual road win. While South was battling Hickory Ridge — the game was played at Robinson — with the venue change due to wind damage at Hickory Ridge during Tuesday night’s storms.

South lefty Dillon Norton (2-1) was the story early. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, seeking to duplicate the no-hitter that South’s Walker Joyce fired against Central Cabarrus on Monday.

Norton struck out seven, but he also walked seven, and his night was over after he allowed Hickory Ridge’s first hit in the fifth.

“His pitch count was getting up there,” Chrismon said.

Tyler Shepherd relieved and got South through the fifth.

Dawson Larrimore drove in two early runs to give South a 2-0 lead.

South’s key inning was the four-run sixth. Anthony Fox produced a two-run single and Joyce smacked a two-run double. South sent 10 to the plate and had a chance to blow it open but left the bases loaded.

Trailing 6-0, Hickory Ridge got a triple to start the bottom of the sixth and finally got on the scoreboard.

Shepherd ran into more trouble in the seventh.  It was 6-3 when Matt Donahue came in and nailed down the last two outs, while allowing one run to score, for a save.

It’s a tough week for South. There’s a home game against Robinson (5-3, 5-2 SPC) on Friday, followed by a Saturday afternoon showdown at Carson.

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