High school baseball: Two Carson vs. East match-ups

Published 5:49 am Monday, March 27, 2023


By Mike London

SALISBURY — East Rowan entered the baseball season as the favorite in the South Piedmont Conference.

The most college commitments. The highest-profile college commitments. The most returners. The most talent.

Coach Brett Hatley’s Mustangs haven’t done anything to reduce expectations in the early going. The Mustangs (8-2, 4-0) lost twice on a Georgia trip, but they haven’t lost yet to a North Carolina opponent.

They are batting .373 as a team, pitching to a 2.80 team ERA and have scored double-digit runs six times, including last week’s 11-1 and 10-0 thrashings of Central Cabarrus.

While East conducted business as usual last Tuesday and Friday, there have been interesting — and surprising — results posted so far in the SPC.

West Rowan beat Northwest Cabarrus twice but lost to Lake Norman Charter twice.

South Rowan is starting to roll with a brand new cast of characters and a new head coach, but did let one slip away late against Central Cabarrus.

Carson, undefeated in the league prior to Friday, dropped a tough one at home to Northwest Cabarrus.

“Northwest has got a great team and a great coach, four arms in the 80s,” Carson coach Kyle Bridges said. “I know they started out 0-3 in the league, but I wouldn’t count them out. They’ll win a lot of games.”

East is the only team still unbeaten in the SPC. South and Carson are 3-1 in the league, while West and Lake Norman Charter are 2-2. Northwest and Central are 1-3. Concord is 0-4.

The first big Rowan vs. Rowan match-ups — and there will be a lot of them in the SPC — arrive this week.

East at Carson on Tuesday. Carson at East on Friday.

West will try to bounce back this week against Central Cabarrus. South takes on Lake Norman Charter twice. Northwest will be expected to handle Concord twice.


Friday’s roundup

East Rowan 10, Central Cabarrus 0, 5 innings

A six-run third made it a breezy night for the Mustangs at Staton Field.

Morgan Padgett is batting .500. He had two doubles and three RBIs.

Padgett pitched four shutout innings with three strikeouts. Dylan Valley pitched the fifth.

Blake Hill had two RBIs, and Chance Mako socked a double.

Logan Dyer has an on-base percentage of .500.


South Rowan 11, Concord 1, 5 innings

Concord scored in the top of the first, but it was all Raiders after that.

Conner Coy and Cole Thomas had big hits.

Logan Ballard and Aaron Jones got the job done on the mound.


Lake Norman Charter 11, West Rowan 3

West got off to a solid start in Mount Ulla, received run-scoring hits from Elijah Palmer and Nate Greene and led 3-1 after three innings.

The Knights tied it in the fourth at 3-all.

The top of the fifth was a rough one for the Falcons, as the visitors put together five hits, a walk and an error for a five-run inning to take control.

Lake Norman Charter out-hit the Falcons 17-3.

Luke Graham took the loss.


NW Cabarrus 4, Carson 2

In China Grove, it was mostly a matter of Carson not being able to come up with the key hit with runners on.

The Cougars left nine men on base and failed to get runners home from third with less than two outs several times.

“We’ve played some 10-0 games and everyone plays great when there’s no pressure, but we’ve also got to have good at-bats and make the plays in the close ones,” Bridges said.

It was a scoreless game until the fifth, but the Trojans scored three in the fifth to hand Mikey Beasley a loss.

Northwest tacked on another run in the sixth.

Carson was able to scratch out two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Cameron Burleyson had two of Carson’s five hits.

Corbin Hales, who threw a scoreless seventh, has been good in relief.

Terry Kaler had two hits for the Trojans.

Dalton Hazlett threw five scoreless innings, holding the Cougars to three hits. He struck out seven.

Tanner Kaler got the last four outs for a save.

Carson has swung the bats well in a lot of games. Jacob Efird is batting .455. Daxton Savage is batting .450.


Salisbury is still looking for its first win after a 10-1 loss to West Davidson in Tyro.

Evan Koonz drove in Aiden Mowery to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the Central Carolina Conference contest, but they didn’t score again.

West Davidson pitcher Thomas Hester fanned 12.

Koontz took the loss.


North Rowan got a nice home win against Thomasville on Tuesday, but it was a different story in the Central Carolina Conference rematch in Thomasville.

Sophomore Matthew Bankhead pitched a five-inning no-hitter for the Bulldogs in an 11-0 romp.

Thomasville only got four hits, but they used six walks, three hit batsman and three errors to run away from the Cavaliers.