High school baseball roundup: East tops South in pitchers’ duel; West and Carson win SPC games

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023


Staff report

GRANITE QUARRY — Chance Mako pitched another gem on Tuesday and he and his East Rowan teammates moved another step closer to winning the South Piedmont Conference.

The Mustangs survived South Rowan’s outstanding left-hander Haiden Leffew in a 1-0 game. East (11-2, 7-0) pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh at Staton Field.

A Wake Forest signee, the 6-foot-3 Leffew has been clocked as high as 93 miles per hour. Like Mako, he’s being scouted by MLB and is a potential draft pick this summer.

Mako, a 6-foot-6 right-hander who signed with N.C. State, was throwing 93-94 in his latest effort and struck out 11.

Leffew struck out 10, didn’t walk a batter and threw only 81 pitches.

Mako (5-0) wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in last week’s duel with Carson’s Hayden Simmerson. He walked four Raiders (6-7, 4-3) and allowed two hits. He ended the game on his 101st pitch.

In the bottom of the seventh, Morgan Padgett led off with a hit, and Braden Shive’s bunt moved the winning run to second base.

McCall Henderson’s single scored pinch-runner Mason Phelps with the game’s only run.

The teams will play at South on Thursday.

Both will be in Easter tournament action on Friday, Saturday and Monday, although they’ll be in different tournaments.

East will play at Staton Field, while South will be in action in Kannapolis at Atrium Health Ballpark.


CONCORD — West Rowan took a harder than expected 5-2 South Piedmont Conference win at Concord on Tuesday.

The Falcons (8-4, 5-2) stand alone in the second place in the SPC after beating the last-place Spiders (2-10, 0-7).


West starting pitcher Corbin Bailey pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and worked six innings for the victory.

West got Bailey a 2-0 lead in the third when Elijah Palmer stroked a two-out hit, Matthew Connolly tripled, and Connolly scored on a wild pitch.

Drew Burton knocked in two runs in the fifth as the Falcons boosted their lead to 5-0.

Concord tried to battle back in the seventh against West’s bullpen and scored twice.

Nate Greene got two outs, and Alex O’Rourke qualified for a save, getting the final out with a runner on base and the tying run on deck.

Burton and Luke Graham had two hits for the Falcons. Connolly had a double in addition to his triple.

Nickolas Simpson had three hits for Concord.

West will host the Spiders on Thursday and will play in the Easter tourney at Staton Field on Friday, Saturday and Monday.


CHINA GROVE —  There aren’t many easy South Piedmont Conference games, and Carson had to break a sixth-inning tie to beat Central Cabarrus on Tuesday.

The Cougars won it 7-3 behind ace Hayden Simmerson. The Catawba signee has been sharper, but he battled through six innings and got the win. He struck out seven, walked four and allowed three hits. He maxed out on the pitch count (105) getting the last out of the top of the sixth.

It was 3-all going to the bottom of the sixth, but the Vikings had two miscues that extended that inning and allowed the Cougars to score a go-ahead run against Central Cabarrus starter Nicholas Cottone. Cottone reached his pitch count limit, and Simmerson belted a three-run homer off a reliever to make it 7-3.

Corbin Hales got Central Cabarrus out in the top of the seventh. He walked one but allowed no hits.

Carson (6-7, 4-3) is tied for third in the SPC. three games behind East but only one game behind second-place West. Central (3-7, 1-6) has played some strong games but hasn’t won many in the league.

The teams will play at Central Cabarrus on Thursday and it looks like they’ll meet for a third time on Friday in the first round of the Easter tournament being held in Kannapolis.

Cody Russell had two hits and two RBIs for the Cougars. Daniel Savage and Jacob Efird drove in one run each.


In SPC action, Lake Norman Charter topped Northwest Cabarrus 8-7 despite homers by Trojans Landon Finley and Tanner Kaler.


SALISBURY — Salisbury had the lead after four innings but lost 7-1 to East Davidson in a Central Carolina Conference game on Tuesday.

The Hornets (2-11, 2-5) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Geter got an infield hit and used his wheels to get around the bases.

Landon Tucker pitched very well for four innings, but the Golden Eagles (9-3, 5-0) broke through for three runs in the fifth.

Geter, Tucker and Hank Webb had the only hits for the Hornets.


North Rowan won’t play again until it goes to West Davidson on April 12.