American Legion baseball: Rowan loses by 10-run rule; Kannapolis is down 2-0

Published 1:55 am Saturday, July 15, 2023


Staff report

ASHEBORO — The Rowan County American Legion team was on the wrong end of a no-hitter and the 10-run rule on Friday.

Such awful things don’t normally happen to 34-4 teams, but Randolph County has a lot of talent and left-hander Drake Purvis was sharp in the six-inning contest. Randleman High wins 2A state championships for a reason. Purvis is a Randleman rising senior committed to N.C. State. Hunter Atkins, who launched two homers to help maul Rowan on Friday, is a Randleman graduate headed to UNC Greensboro.

Rowan County has slapped overmatched opponents silly most of the summer, but took one on the chin at McCrary Park in Game 2 of a best-of-five playoff Area III semifinal series. Randolph won 11-0 to even the highly anticipated series at a game apiece.

Prior to the disastrous Game 2,  Rowan County finished off a weather-suspended Game 1 with an 8-2 victory.

Rowan grabbed control of Game 1 on Thursday while the teams were at Newman Park, building a 6-1 lead through five innings with some fine mound work and a two-run double by Hayden Simmerson and a tiebreaking homer by Blake Hill.

It goes without saying that Game 3 will be pivotal in a series that will qualify the winner for the state tournament. Rowan will host Randolph (22-4) in Game 3 at Newman Park on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Despite the lopsided final score, Friday’s game was tense and tight most of the way as Rowan got a strong start from Morgan Padgett.

Padgett left the mound down 1-0 in the fifth.

Then Randolph exploded in a never-ending bottom of the sixth and put up a 10-spot against Rowan’s bullpen.

It was a scoreless game through four innings. Padgett had allowed only one hit.

Padgett, who struck out five and walked none, got the first two men out in the bottom of the fifth, but Carter Brown jumped on Padgett’s first pitch and sent it over the left-field fence for the game’s first run.

Brown is a rising senior at Uwharrie Charter Academy, a school where they win 1A state championships.

Joe Burleyson emerged from the Rowan bullpen and got a strikeout to end the bottom of the fifth.

Purvis, who walked two, protected his slim 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth, racking up his fifth and sixth strikeouts before retiring Hill on a fly ball.

Then things collapsed for Rowan in the bottom of the sixth. After a walk, Atkins socked a two-homer with one man out to make it 3-0.

When Randolph followed the homer with another base hit, Emory Taylor relieved Burleyson.  A train of batters reached base as the inning continued — fielder’s choice, single, double, walk, single, HBP — as the score escalated to 4-0, 5-0 and then 7-0.

Taylor struck out Randolph slugger Tanner Marsh with the bases loaded for the second out.

But Atkins connected solidly with a 2-and-0 pitch, sending a grand slam over the right-field fence for his second homer of the inning, an 11-0 final score and a no-hitter for Purvis.


THOMASVILLE – High Point got more super pitching and beat Kannapolis 5-1 on Friday to take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five Area III semifinal series.

It was a late night, starting at 8 p.m, and the teams had to deal with a lightning delay in the third inning when it was still a scoreless game.

Bryce Hooker and Jake Little drove in runs for Post 87 in the fourth inning for a 2-0 lead.

High Point won 3-1 at Kannapolis on Thursday and can clinch the series on Saturday at Finch Field. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

High Point is one win away from qualifying for the state tournament.