Legion baseball: Barringer’s blast leads Rowan to win by mercy rule
SALISBURY — Luke Barringer lined a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the third inning and propelled Rowan County’s American Legion team to a 12-2 win over Kannapolis on Monday.
Barringer’s shot over the left-field wall snapped a 2-all tie. It was a no doubter and also ended any doubt that Rowan County would bounce back from Sunday’s ugly 11-0 loss to Mocksville, the first mercy-rule setback for Rowan at Newman Park in nine years.
The Rowan County Player of the Year, Barringer arrived late to the Legion team after Carson’s long run in the 3A state playoffs, but he’s accounted for a team-best seven homers in just 55 official at-bats.
Rowan’s No. 3 hitter Wayne Mize ended an 0-for-15 skid with a 4-for-4 effort in the division game. All four hits were smoked. Mize’s average had dipped to a season-low .446, but now he’s back to .471.
Deacon Wike, who won nine games in the high school season for Carson, did the job on the mound and pitched all five innings to improve to 3-1 for the summer. He hit a batter, but he didn’t walk anyone. He struck out the side in the second inning. He got some help from catcher Bo Rusher, who picked a runner off base to stifle a Kannapolis threat in the fourth.
Kannapolis (4-8, 0-3) was playing for the first time since June 6 when it beat Mocksville and showed the expected rust from that long layoff.
Rowan (19-7, 4-2) shook up its batting order after Sunday’s shutout loss. Cole Hales led off for the first time, the role he had at Carson. Rusher was elevated to the No. 2 spot in the batting order and executed on a hit-and-run in Rowan’s decisive third inning. Coach Jim Gantt didn’t tinker with Mize and Barringer in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the lineup, but Jordan Goodine was moved from leadoff to the No. 5 spot. Goodine is comfortable there. He’s always been a middle-of-the-order run-producer for North Rowan.
Rowan’s Daniel Durham scored on an error in the bottom of the second for a 1-0 lead.
Chase Orrock produced a two-run single for Kannapolis in the top of the third to give the visitors a 2-1 edge.
But Rowan got five runs in the bottom half of that inning to take command. Hales started the key inning with a single, and Rusher’s hit-and-run single sent him to third. Mize singled home the tying run, and then Barringer walloped his homer off Kannapolis starting pitcher Ryan O’Kelly. Rowan made it 6-2 later in the inning when Bryson Wagner walked with the bases loaded.
Mize scored on a throwing error in the fourth to make it 7-2.
It was still a reasonably competitive game at that point, and Kannapolis had no shortage of baserunners, but then Rowan struck suddenly for another five-run inning in the fifth to bring the game to an early conclusion.
Walks to Wagner and Steven Smith and Hales’ infield single that knocked the glove off reliever Josh Hudson’s hand loaded the bases.
Rusher hammered a two-run double to make it 9-2. A wild pitch made it 10-2 before Mize’s double made it 11-2.
With Mize at third base with no outs, Barringer and Goodine were intentionally passed, but Duham’s long drive was plenty deep enough to provide a game-ending sacrifice fly.
Bryson Bebber, a South Rowan graduate who is headed to Surry Community College, had a double and a triple for Kannapolis. Kannapolis also had South Rowan’s Andrew Jones and Eli Hiskey in the lineup.
Rowan plays at Concord tonight in another division game. Kannapolis will try to rebound at Stanly County.
Rowan has an injury concern with starting shortstop Zeb Burns, who was in the starting lineup but exited early. … Rowan isn’t deep in the infield. Hales can play second base or shortstop, but he’s the only experienced third baseman on the roster. … Durham likely will be the starting pitcher for Rowan at Concord. Rowan also plays a road game on Wednesday — at Kannapolis.
Kannapolis 002 00 — 2 7 3
Rowan 015 15 — 12 13 1
W — Wike (3-1). L — O’Kelly.
HR — Rowan: Barringer (7).
Leading hitters — Kannapolis: Bebber 2-for-2; Luke Nelson 2-for-3; Hiskey 1-for-1; Orrock 1-for-3, 2 RBIs. Rowan: Mize 4-for-4, 2 RBIs; Hales 2-for-3; Rusher 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; D. Durham 2-for-3, RBI; Pyle 1-for-2; Goodine 1-for-2; Barringer 1-for-3, 3 RBIs.
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