Legion baseball: H-Men lead Rowan County to victory

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Staff report

MOORESVILLE — Never heard of Alex Hagler and Blake Hill?

No problem.

In the American Legion baseball world of 2022, almost anything can happen. Hagler, a West Rowan jayvee, and Blake Hill, an East Rowan reserve, dominated in Rowan County’s 13-8 win at Mooresville.

Both have bright futures and are expected to be key players for their high school teams in 2023.

Wednesday’s non-division game between division rivals — there have been a lot of those this season — wasn’t pretty. With all the walks, it took more than two and a half hours to play seven innings. Mooresville scored five times in the first inning with just one hit and added three runs in the seventh on no hits. That gives you an idea.

But in between those Mooresville flurries, Hagler (2-0) was strong and in control. He relieved Casey Crawford, who was struggling to locate the strike zone, in the bottom of the first and then stuck around through the sixth inning. Hagler just kept putting up zeroes. He struck out the side in the fifth.

Rowan (8-4) was in a 5-0 hole after two innings, but turned things around with a five-run third. That’s when Hill showed up. His three-run homer to left-center keyed a big inning.

Rowan took the lead for good in the fourth, scoring three more times for an 8-5 edge. Again, it was mostly Hill. He walloped a two-run triple, finding the gap in right-center for a five-RBI night.

Hill had a chance for one of the historic offensive games in Rowan history, but Mooresville got him out later on with the bases loaded.

Rowan, which has won six of its last seven, added a run in the fifth when Aiden Schenck hit into a fielder’s choice.

Rowan’s four-run seventh included a long, two-run homer to right by Casey Gouge, who already had contributed a run-scoring single. Schenck and Matthew Connolly hit balls off the wall in the seventh.

Rowan banged out 17 hits, with players such as Jackson Deal, Luke Graham, Zack McNeely and Cole Johnson continuing what has been a pretty steady onslaught on pitchers.

Pitching is the big question for Rowan. The good news is Hagler answered some of those questions.


Rowan Co.     005  310  4   — 13

Mooresville     500 000 3  — 8

HR — Gouge (1), Hill (1).

W — Hagler (2-0).

NOTES: Next for Rowan County this weekend is a six-team tournament at Shelby and Cherryville. The teams were divided into two pools with Cleveland County, Kinston and Rowan County in Pool A and Cherryville, Randolph County and Wayne County in Pool B.

June 10
(at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium)
Randolph County vs. Kinston, 5:30 p.m.
Wayne County vs. Cleveland County, 7:30 p.m.
(at Fraley Field)
Rowan County vs. Cherryville, 6:30 p.m.

June 11
(at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium)
Rowan County vs. Kinston, 2 p.m.
Kinston vs. Cleveland County, 4:30 p.m.
Rowan County vs. Cleveland County, 7 p.m.

(at Fraley Field)
Randolph County vs. Wayne County, 2 p.m.
Wayne County vs. Cherryville, 4:0 p.m.
Randolph County vs. Cherryville, 7 p.m.

June 12
(at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium)
Semifinal – A No. 1 vs. B No. 2, 11 a.m.
Semifinal – A No. 2 vs. B No. 1, 1:30 p.m.
Championship game – Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.