Legion baseball: Rowan rolls against Mooresville

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 2, 2021

Staff report

GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan graduate Mattox Henderson was the valedictorian for the Mustangs’ Class of 2021 and is headed to N.C. State with plans for an engineering career, so it’s no surprise he’s a smart pitcher.

Henderson had the right idea on Thursday. He threw strikes against Mooresville, let his defense work, and led Rowan County’s American Legion team to a breezy 9-0 victory at Staton Field.

Henderson fanned seven, walked one and allowed three hits while keeping Mooresville off the scoreboard for six innings. Chase Drinkard relieved and worked a quick seventh.

Rain clouds steered clear of Granite Quarry, as Rowan (4-1, 2-0) racked up a victory in division play.

Henderson had plenty of motivation to be successful. His younger brother, McCall, threw a no-hitter for East’s Junior Legion team earlier this week.

Mattox Henderson pitched only five innings for East Rowan’s loaded high school team (14 strikeouts, 1 walk, no runs) because the Mustangs had three Division I pitching recruits, so he’s enjoying the opportunity to be a key member of Rowan County’s starting rotation. He was strong in his first outing against Stokes County, a game Rowan won, although he didn’t get a decision.

The toughest challenge for Henderson was the top of the first. Mooresville loaded the bases, but Henderson worked out of that jam.

Mooresville hit a number of balls hard, but Rowan outfielders ran them down. Third baseman Peyton Summerall made a diving stop for a double play in the fifth after Mooresville finally got another baserunner against Henderson. The visitors went down 1-2-3 in the second, third and fourth.

Offensively, Rowan scored twice in the first against Mooresville starter Nick Merriman, a lefty who graduated recently from Mooresville High.

Rowan tacked on a single run in the third on Jaxon Trexler’s RBI single, and CP Pyle dashed home in the fourth on Logan Rogers’ chopper in front of the plate, and then made it a romp with a five-run sixth against Mooresville’s bullpen. In the sixth, Austin Fulk had a sacrifice fly, Charlie Klingler singled home a run, Rogers walloped a deep sac fly, and Dylan Driver had a two-run double.

Lead-off hitter Klingler singled in the first, fifth and sixth to spark Rowan’s 11-hit attack.

The game started a busy stretch for Rowan County, which plays at Kannapolis tonight, and hosts Kannapolis on Saturday. Rowan is scheduled to play Davidson County at home on Monday and will play a makeup game at Randolph County on Tuesday.