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Legion Baseball: Rowan falls at Randolph, 6-1

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

ASHEBORO — Rested and ready, Randolph County roughed up Rowan County, 6-1, in Wednesday’s opening game in the Area III championship series.

The result wasn’t a surprise. Rowan had one day off after a grueling semifinal series with High Point, and basically threw “staff” In Game 1.

Jake Perez, Daniel Sell and Carsen Bailey didn’t pitch badly at all for Rowan, but Randolph hurler Bryce Marsh, who struck out 146 batters during the high school season for Southwestern Randolph and shut out Kannapolis in the playoffs, dominated the game at McCrary Park. Marsh fired a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts.

Marsh set down Rowan hitters 1-2-3 in the first, fourth and sixth. Rowan’s only run was of the unearned variety in the third, when John Owen walked, took second on Bryson Wagner’s solid single and came home when an error was made on Clayton Gilmore’s ground ball. Marsh, a big right-hander, walked two. He threw 65 of his 103 pitches for strikes. He retired Rowan’s leadoff batter in six innings, and Rowan never posed much of a threat after it had a chance to do some damage in the third.

Hayden Setzer, Trevor Atwood and Chandler Lippard, Rowan’s three leading hitters, went o-for-8 against Marsh. It was only the second time this season that all three were hitless.

In addition to Wagner’s third-inning hit, Wayne Mize bounced a one-out single in the second. C.P. Pyle had an infield hit in the seventh.

Randolph (23-14) got a run in the bottom of the first against Perez when Bryce Marsh knocked in Dawson Painter, but Perez put up a zero in the second.

Rowan (28-9) had its lone chance for a breakout inning in the third, but with one run in, two men on and one out, Marsh retired Rowan’s top two run-producers. He got Atwood to pop up and struck out Lippard.

Then the game was decided by Randolph’s three-run bottom of the third. Rowan third baseman John Owen couldn’t make a backhand play on a ball stroked by Dawson Painter that was scored as an error. Then Randolph got three runs on one disastrous play. Owen rushed a throw on a slow roller with two men on, and his throw sailed wide. The ball rolled up a bank in foul territory, as Post 45 players romped around the bases. Lippard, the first baseman, chased the ball down, but he tried to flip the ball to right fielder Luke Barringer, who wasn’t expecting the toss.  Everyone scored, including Landon Smith, the guy who hit the ball. That made it 4-1.

No. 9 hitter Blake Marsh delivered a two-run single for Randolph in the fifth to push the advantage to 6-1. Bryce Marsh took it from there and Randolph cruised to its eighth straight win.

Atwood, Rowan’s catcher, accounted for two defensive outs in the fifth, tagging out a runner trying to score on a pitch in the dirt and pegging out another one trying to steal second base.

The winner of this best-of-five series joins High Point in the state tournament. High Point is the host team.

Rowan will try to square the series tonight at Newman Park, with lefty Daniel Durham (3-1) the probable hurler.  Legion pitch count rules dictate that Setzer can’t pitch before Friday, while Owen can’t take the mound until Saturday.

A boxscore is in Scoreboard.

Rowan           001  000   0   —  1   3  2

Randolph      103   020   x   —  6   7   2

W — Bryce Marsh. L — Perez (2-1).

HR — None.

Leading hitters — Randolph: Smith 2-for-3; Blake Marsh 1-for-3, 2 RBIs.

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