High school baseball: West, East win on road

Published 3:15 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

From staff reports

After Tuesday’s wild game (West Rowan 7, East Rowan 6), the Falcons and Mustangs probably needed rest more than a game on Wednesday, but both were scheduled on the road against 4As.

Both won.


MOORESVILLE – East outscored Lake Norman 12-10 behind the big bats of Cobb Hightower and Logan Dyer, and five pitchers were able to get the 21 outs needed.

East scored five runs in the second inning to take control  and led at one point, 9-3.

But Lake Norman kept swinging and stayed in it and got back to 9-6. When East (16-4) scored three insurance runs in the top of the seventh, a 12-6 lead appeared to be quite secure —  but it wasn’t.

Lake Norman (9-12) scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Mustangs were able to hang on.

Joe Burleyson keyed the mound effort. He got eight outs in the middle innings without allowing any runs and was credited with the win. Nate Hayworth nailed down the final two outs for a save. Mason Phelps started and got the Mustangs into the third inning in good shape.

Hightower was sizzling at the plate again, 3-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Dyer had three hits, scored three runs and drove in three. Braden Shive had two hits and scored twice.

Those are the top three hitters in the East lineup and they caused some havoc by stealing seven bases.

East didn’t slug any homers, but Blake Hill, Chance Mako and Burleyson had doubles for a lineup that was missing Morgan Padgett.


West won 7-2 at Alexander Central thanks to strong pitching from by Alex O’Rourke and a six-run fifth inning.

It was a pretty typical West attack — a Drew Burton double, seven singles, four walks and two HBPs.

Nate Greene had two RBIs for the Falcons, who played without outfielders Elijah Palmer and Cole Blevins. Both got banged up in Tuesday’s game with East.

Koen Franz stepped into the lineup and had two hits. Franz, Burton, Zach McNeely, Matthew Connolly and Luke Ponczka had RBIs.

West (13-5) committed five errors, but O’Rourke was sharp enough to survive. He pitched six innings, allowing two hits and three walks and striking out three. Neither of AC’s runs was earned.

Freshman Ponczka pitched the seventh for the Falcons with no problems.

Alexander Central (16-5) made no errors and is a very good team, sixth in the 4A West RPI rankings.

The win was the 135th for head coach Seth Graham at West. The program record of 136 is held by Chris Cauble.


West plays East at Staton Field on Friday. East leads the SPC by one game over the Falcons, with three left to play. West will finish with South Rowan next week, While East will play Northwest Cabarrus twice.

East stands third in the 3A West RPI rankings behind Ledford and West Henderson. West Rowan is eighth.

SPC teams Lake Norman Charter (14th), Northwest (20th) and Carson (26th) are in great shape to make the 32-team 3A West playoff bracket. Defending 3A champ South Rowan is 37th and still has a chance.