American Legion baseball: Rowan County wins 3 over the weekend, now 9-0

Published 4:06 am Monday, June 5, 2023

Staff report

SALISBURY — Rowan County played its first game that counted in the division standings on Sunday night.

Basically, that meant Rowan unleashed Hayden Simmerson for five dominant shutout innings, instead of the three he would have pitched in a non-league game.

But it still got interesting at Newman Park. Way too interesting for Rowan County fans who watched their team hang on for a 4-3 victory.

The lesson from the evening is to put teams away whenever the opportunity arises because in baseball you just never know. Rowan had a chance to knock out Concord in the bottom of the fourth, but settled for one meager run. Concord stayed in the game, plugged away and came reasonably close to shocking the world in the top of the seventh.

Rowan (9-0, 1-0) got three runs in the bottom of the first. Aiden Schenck’s RBI double and a two-run double by the scorching hot JT Taylor staked Simmerson to a 3-0 lead, and Simmerson knew what do to with it. He threw strikes and let his defense help him out.

In Simmerson’s five innings, Concord managed two hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Rowan loaded the bases quickly in the bottom of the fourth, but got only one run. Emory Taylor’s sacrifice fly bumped the lead to 4-0.

Corbin Bailey relieved Simmerson and got through the sixth with minimal trouble, but the top of the seventh proved challenging.

The inning began with two singles and a run-scoring double, and Post 51 suddenly trailed 4-1 and had the tying run at the plate with no one out.

Two ground balls fielded by third baseman Luke Graham resulted in two outs, but also two more runs for the visitors. Graham’s math skills were solid and he understood Rowan could trade runs for outs at that stage of the game. Then Bailey got the final out on a routine popup in the infield.

Simmerson (2-0) got a win that he deserved.

Bailey “saved” the game although officially he didn’t qualify for a statistical save, which is unusual for a reliever completing a one-run game.

The reliever can’t create the save situation.

Saves can be earned in three ways: 1. Pitching the final inning of a winning game while protecting a lead of three runs or less. 2. Pitching the final three innings of a winning game (regardless of the score) in which you were not the winning pitcher. 3. Finishing a winning game that you entered in relief with the tying run on base, at the plate or in the on-deck circle. That one can get tricky. You can get one out and earn a save in a 5-0 game if the bases are loaded when you answer the call to the bullpen.

Bailey entered the game to start the sixth with a 4-0 lead and pitched two innings, so none of the save criteria applied.

The bottom line, however, is that Bailey and Rowan’s defense got the job done. Wins are wins, and Rowan County now has nine of them in a row.

Rowan will play on the road on Monday at Randolph County. With renovations still taking place at McCrary Park, the game will be played at Randleman High.


SALISBURY — Rowan County thumped Kannapolis 10-2 on Saturday in a non-league game that was shortened by weather in the sixth inning.

Rowan settled it with a six-run third inning that began with singles by Elijah Palmer and Logan Dyer and a walk to JT Taylor. Blake Hill singled for a run. Graham knocked in two with a single past first base. Aiden Schenk’s double made it 4-0. Rowan got a run on a passed ball before Simmerson’s sac fly made it 6-0.

Kannapolis (5-2) scored two runs in the fifth, but Rowan answered with four in the bottom of the inning. Graham, Schenck, Morgan Padgett and Simmerson had consecutive hits and two runs scored on an error.

Palmer’s defense in center field was a big part of the game. He made three good catches, including one that got Rowan starting pitcher Maverick Walters out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning when the game was still tied. Rowan’s second pitcher, Alex Hagler, got credit for the win.


CONCORD — Rowan used a 10-run fifth inning to clobber Kannapolis 18-2 in a non-league game played at Northwest Cabarrus High on Friday.

JT Taylor had a two-run double and a solo homer for Rowan. Graham stroked three hits, while Hill had three RBIs in the five-inning game.

Drew Burton was the winning pitcher in relief of Casey Crawford.

Game 7 — Rowan Co. 18, Kannapolis 2

W — Burton (1-0)

3 hits — JT Taylor

2B — Graham (2), JT Taylor (2), Palmer (1)

HR — JT Taylor (1)

RBIs — Hill 3 (9), JT Taylor 3 (6), Graham (3),  ETaylor (3), C Burleyson (1), Palmer (3), Walters (1), McNeely (1)

Runs — Johnson 2 (5), Hill 2 (5), JT Taylor 3 (8), Graham 2 (5), E Taylor 2 (6), C Burleyson 2 (3), Palmer 2 (4), Walters (1), Schenk (5), McNeely (2), Russell (1)

Game 8 — Rowan Co. 10, Kannapolis 2

W — Hagler (1-0)

2B — Schenck 2 (4)

RBIs — Hill (10), Graham 2 (5), Schenck (6), ETaylor (4), Padgett (2), Simmerson (4)

Runs — JT Taylor (9), Palmer (5), Dyer (1), Hill (6), 2 Graham (7), Schenck 2 (7), Padgett (3),  Simmerson (4)

Game 9 — Rowan Co. 10, Kannapolis 2

W — Simmerson (2-0)

2B — JT Taylor 2 (4), Schenck (5)

RBIs — Schenck (7), JT Taylor 2 (8), E Taylor (5)

Runs — JT Taylor (10), Schenck (8), Padgett  (4), Graham (8)