• 66°

Rowan falls to Davidson, 5-4, in Legion series opener

By Jason Queen

Lexington Dispatch

LEXINGTON — With an electric crowd hanging on every pitch, Davidson County got every pitch it needed.

Post 8 jumped out to a 5-1 lead, then held off three major scares to notch a 5-4 victory over Rowan County Post 342 in Game 1 of the American Legion Area III quarterfinal matchup at Holt-Moffitt Field on Tuesday night.

Game 2 will be at Newman Park tonight at 7 o’clock.

With runners on second and third and two out, pinch runner C.P. Pyle tried to steal third. But Noah Coleman – who moved to catcher when Jake Brown came to the mound to close things out – fired to Drew Wright at third base, nailing Pyle and end the game.

Davidson coach Keaton Hawks was thrilled to survive a Game 1 that was in doubt until the final out. “That’s how it’s been the last couple games for us,” Hawks said. “They were right there in it. Their guys competed the whole game.

“But things just turned our way,” continued Hawks. “(We) had great pitching on the mound, great defense. It all worked out.”

Rowan, the No. 3 seed from the Area III South Division, looked to establish itself in the early going. Cole Hales led off the game with a single, moved to third on Wayne Mize’s double and scored when Luke Barringer lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

But Post 8 responded in a big way in the bottom of the second. Taylor Stewart led off the inning with a booming double off the fence in center field. Coleman reached on a bunt single, then Nathan Burton stayed red hot with an RBI-single to left. Wright’s sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, and Jackson McAllister delivered a sacrifice fly to center to give Post 8 a 2-1 edge. Landon Hilbourn followed with a crisp opposite-field single to score another run and, following Carson Simpson’s walk, Brown dumped a flare into shallow right field to drive in Hilbourn. Zack Cates’ single off Rowan pitcher Michael Molenda’s glove allowed Simpson to race home, making it 5-1.

It was about as much of a nightmare scenario as Rowan coach Jim Gantt could have dreamed up. “Crazy thing, we had one batter 0-2 and gave up a sac fly,” Gantt recalled. “Then we had a play up the middle that our pitcher knocked down. If he had known where the shortstop was playing, the inning was over. You’re trying to make a play, I get it. But that was crucial.”

WarHawgs starter Jonathan Conway set the cruise control over the next two innings, but hit a major detour in the fifth. Conway walked the bases loaded with one out, then walked Chandler Lippard to force in a run. He bore down to catch Barringer looking on a full-count fastball on the outside corner for the second out, then induced a fly ball from Durham to work his way out of the jam.

That missed opportunity was the subject of a long lecture from Gantt in the visitors’ dugout after the game. “One base hit,” Gantt lamented. “The guy had walked four in a row, walked in a run. It’s hard to start swinging, because sometimes that’s all you have to do is put a ball in play.

“You know, you can chart BP and you’re gonna hit .500,” Gantt continued. “In a tight situation, in a game, runners on, you’re wanting to do well. But they made enough pitches and enough plays to keep them out of that big inning.”

Davidson’s best threat to add to the lead came in the bottom of the fifth, when Burton and Jackson McAllister singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Burton broke for home on Landon Hilbourn’s squeeze attempt, but Hilbourn couldn’t get a bat on the outside pitch and Burton was tagged out.

Brown got out of the jam in the seventh, thanks to Coleman gunning down Pyle for the game-ender.

Burton finished with three hits for Post 8, the No. 2 seed from the Area III North Division. Hales had two hits for Rowan.

Comments

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham