Legion baseball: Rowan, Rogers do it again to advance to next round
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 22, 2021
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — Logan Rogers drove in six runs on Wednesday at Staton Field as Rowan County eliminated High Point and punched its ticket for the Area III championship game (vs. Kannapolis) and a trip to the state tournament in Cherryville.
It took quite a bit of punching to win the semifinal playoff series, two games to none. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier sort of punching.
Rowan lost a couple of substantial leads, but fans went home happy when Rogers drove a sac fly to left field that easily scored pinch-runner Jaxon Trexler from third base in the bottom of the seventh for a dramatic 9-8 victory.
With Rowan (13-4) trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, Rogers, a right-handed hitter, launched a three-run homer. He took a fastball away to the opposite field to put Rowan ahead 7-5.
Rogers also produced RBI singles in the first and third innings. He now has six homers and 38 RBIs in this abbreviated season and is batting well over .500.
On the mound, Mattox Henderson and Chase Drinkard (5-1) were good enough to get Rowan to the winner’s circle against a hard-hitting, talented team.
CP Pyle was an usung hero. He drew five of the 13 walks issued to Rowan batters. He hits in front of Rogers, so he was crossing the plate frequently.
Rowan began the scoring in the bottom of the first when Pyle walked, moved into scoring position on an errant pickoff throw and scored on a hit by Rogers.
After Julian Abreu’s double keyed a two-run High Point third inning, Rowan retook the lead in the bottom half when Charlie Klingler and Pyle walked in front of Rogers’ RBI single and Dylan Driver’s run-scoring double off the fence.
Rowan bumped its lead to 4-2 in the fourth when Tristan Miller waked and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Henderson was strong for five innings, but in the sixth, Gavin Sentell’s homer keyed a three-run inning that put Rowan down 5-4.
Klingler singled and Pyle walked to give Rogers another RBI chance in the sixth. That’s when he unloaded his three-run homer. There was a base open, with runners at second and third, but Driver hits behind Rogers and is also having a tremendous season. High Point elected to pitch to Rogers, and the rest is history.
Then Aiden Schenck created an insurance run with a base hit and two steals. He headed for home when the throw to third base got away. It was a run that proved crucial and gave Rowan an 8-5 lead.
High Point (12-6) was down to its last strike in the top of the seventh against Drinkard when No. 9 batter Jacobi Hooks tied the game by slapping a two-run single past diving shortstop Austin Fulk.
In a game with multiple momentum shifts, Rowan remained undaunted.
“We stayed confident,” Rogers said. “We fight, we scratch, and we win ballgames.”
Peyton Summerall started the decisive bottom of the seventh with a walk, Fulk executed on a sac bunt, and lead-off hitter Klingler was walked intentionally. Trexler ran for Summerall.
Then Pyle worked for his fifth walk. That got Rogers to the plate with the bases loaded. After a pitching change to reliever Sam Sapp, Rogers didn’t get another hit — but his sacrifice fly was enough to do the job.
Now Rowan will host Kannapolis in the Area III championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
High Point 002 003 3 — 8
Rowan Co. 102 104 1 — 9
W — Drinkard (5-1). L — Wade.
HR — High Point: Sentell. Rowan: Rogers (6).