American Legion Baseball: Rowan gets walk-off win

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Staff report

SALISBURY — Emory Taylor’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh provided Rowan a 3-2 walk-off win against Randolph County on Wednesday night.

Zach McNeely scored the winning run from second base. McNeely had started the inning with a pinch-hit walk. Matthews Connolly executed on a sacrifice bunt to move McNeely into scoring position. After JT Taylor hit a fly ball to left for the second out, Emory Taylor stroked a ground ball through the left side for the game-winner.

The victory at Newman Park gave Rowan a 3-0 start to the American Legion baseball season.

Rowan got excellent pitching from Casey Crawford, Maverick Walters, Drew Burton and winner Nate Green. The four hurlers held an always stout Post 45 lineup to three hits.

Crawford, a big lefty from Carson, struck out the side in the second inning. He ran into trouble in the third with a walk, an infield hit and a balk, and Randolph scored two runs on an error.

Both runs were unearned, so Rowan’s pitching staff still hasn’t allowed an earned run.

Walters handled the fourth inning with the help of a double play. Post 45 went six up, six down against Burton in the fifth and sixth innings.

Green allowed a single and a walk in the seventh, but Connolly threw out both runners when they attempted to steal second base.

Rowan took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Morgan Padgett doubled to left to lead off the inning. Two passed balls enabled Padgett to score.

With Rowan down 2-1 in the third, JT Taylor singled, Emory Taylor bunted him to second, and Blake Hill came through with a two-out hit to tie the game.

It stayed 2-all the way until the bottom of the seventh.

Executing on sacrifice bunts was critical for Rowan. Both successful bunts led directly to runs in a game where runs were hard to come by.

Randolph pitchers Robert Garner and Drake Purvis combined for seven strikeouts and one walk.

Rowan plays at home on Thursday against Mooresville at 7 p.m.


Randolph County      002     000   0   — 2   3  0

Rowan County           011     000    1    — 3   6    1

HR – None.

W — Green (1-0). L — Purvis.