American Legion baseball: Rowan County gets first victory

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024


Staff report

ASHEBORO — Rowan County’s first American Legion baseball win of the season was unconventional, but no one was complaining.

Rowan’s offense managed just one run for the third straight game, but still took a 1-0 win against Randoloph County at McCrary Park.

Heroes included Mooresville’s Connor Park, West Rowan’s Gaige Scruggs and Drew Burton and 2023 North Rowan graduate Malakie Harris, who is on the team at Guilford College.

Rowan relievers walked three batters in the bottom of the seventh, but Scruggs, Rowan’s catcher, saved the night. He threw out a runner trying to steal for the second out. He picked one off first base for the final out of the game.

Park (1-0), a left-hander, shut out Post 45 for four innings. Burton put up zeroes in the fifth and sixth before running into trouble in the seventh. Brant Graham, jogged in from left field to try to get the final out. He walked the only batter he faced officially, but he was credited with a save when Scruggs came through with his pickoff. Harris made the tag at first base.

Rowan didn’t do a lot against Randolph County starting pitcher Parker Kines, who worked six innings, but Rowan put a run on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Evan Koontz was hit by a pitch and was able to score from first when Harris hit a drive that carried to the wall. Randolph’s Clay Hill nearly made a great catch, but when he hit the wall in right-center, the ball popped loose, and Harris was credited with a run-scoring double.

Harris, who batted twice for Guilford this season, had a good night. He singled and walked in his other two trips to the plate.

Rowan had a season-high six hits. Scruggs had a double leading off the third. Elijah Palmer, Southern Smith-Tilley and Graham had singles.

Rowan’s defense was the best it’s been so far. No errors were charged.

“The difference tonight was we made the routine plays,” said coach Seth Graham, who is leading the team with Jim Gantt still involved with Catawba’s baseball season.

Post 45 got hits from Jake Riddle, Tate Andrews, Caleb Dunn and Hill.

Both teams will add some punch after the high school state championships are completed.

Randolph (1-2) played again on Thursday against Chatham County. Rowan (1-2) is scheduled to host Davidson County on Friday.