American Legion baseball: Connolly joins team, but Rowan County falls to Randolph

Published 12:19 am Thursday, June 6, 2024



Staff report

SALISBURY — Rowan County lost 4-1 to Randolph County on Wednesday at Newman Park, dropping to 2-7 for the season, but there were reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Rowan County played super defense, not only making the routine plays, but making running catches and diving stops. Rowan shut out Randolph after the first inning and had every chance to rally, but failed to get the big hit.

The game’s standout was Randolph pitcher Sam Asbill, who pitched into the seventh inning. Jake Riddle got the last two outs to save it for Post 45 (3-4).

Asbill held Rowan to seven hits. He walked two and struck out four.

Rowan starting pitcher Alex Hagler (0-3) didn’t make it through the first inning, as Randolph County scored four times. Two runs scored on a double by Caleb Dunn.

Drew Burton relieved Hagler in the first inning and was dazzling. With the help of airtight defense, he put zeroes on the scoreboard in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

Nate Greene pitched a scoreless top of the seventh for Rowan.

Rowan put two men on base in the first, second and third innings, but couldn’t push a run across against Asbill.

Rowan didn’t dent the scoreboard until the bottom of the seventh when Logan Dyer’s double to left-center gave Rowan runners at second and third with one out. Braden Shive was hit by a pitch to loaded the bases. Nate Hayworth popped up for the second out. Matthew Connolly, who made his season debut. walked on a full-count pitch to force home a run, but Riddle got Luke Graham out to end it.

Connolly, a catcher/first baseman, was a standout for the Legion team last summer and was Region 10 Player of the Year as a Surry Community College freshman this spring. He likely will be the primary cleanup hitter for Rowan and will be the biggest home run threat.

Dyer, Elijah Palmer and Graham had two hits each.

Clay Hill had three hits for Randolph.

Rowan is scheduled to play Kannapolis at Northwest Cabarrus on Thursday.