Junior Legion Baseball: East Rowan wins opener of series

Published 11:55 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Staff report

GRANITE QUARRY — Jax Fitz and Wayne Mize combined for all seven RBIs, as East Rowan’s Junior Legion baseball team took a 7-6 win against Western Forsyth Blue in the first game of a best-of-three Area III semifinal series.

East Rowan (23-0) broke a 1-all tie in the third at Staton Field when Fitz, the son of John, East Rowan’s head football coach, surprised everyone with a three-run homer.

“I don’t know that Jax has ever hit a homer, not even in BP,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “But his first one was a big one.”

Western Forsyth (14-5) got a solo homer from C.J. Boyd in the fourth inning to get within 4-2 and took advantage of walks and an error to take a 6-4 lead with a four-run top of the fifth.

But East was able to come back in the bottom half of the inning. With the bases loaded, Mize socked a two-run double to tie the game at 6-all. His hit also moved Corbin Moss to third base. Fitz produced the sacrifice fly that plated Moss with what proved to be the decisive run.

Moss, who had a hit and two walks and scored three runs, is also East’s closer. He took the mound in the sixth and preserved that narrow, 7-6 edge over the last two innings.

“We usually bring Moss in, in the seventh, but we needed him for two innings tonight and he was great,” Hightower said.

Besides his two-run double in the fifth, Mize got the scoring started with a run-scoring double in the first.

J.D. Basinger started on the mound for East. Hightower also employed relievers Corbin Durham and Jake Holshouser.

East has had several close calls this season.

East trailed Concord 4-3 in the sixth inning of a game that was stopped by weather, but it was 3-3 after five complete innings and Concord had scored a go-ahead run in the top of the sixth. East had no outs in the bottom of the sixth when the game was stopped. The game was suspended and the teams intended to resume play later in the season when they tangled at Concord, but they were rained out.

Mocksville is the state tournament host this year, so only one other Area III team will be joining Mocksville at Rich Park for the event. The four remaining candidates for that berth are East Rowan (sponsored by Post 342), Western Forsyth Blue, Concord and the Cary Bulls.

Concord won at home against Cary, 10-9, on a walk-off hit by Isaiah Boger in the first game of their series on Tuesday.

East Rowan plays Game 2 at Western Forsyth Blue tonight at 6 p.m. in Clemmons, while Concord goes to Cary.

If Game 3 is needed, East will be back at Staton Field on Thursday.