American Legion baseball: Rowan loses 6-4 to Mocksville on a rainy night

Published 9:00 am Monday, June 10, 2024

Staff report

SALISBURY — Mocksville’s struggles over the years against Rowan County in American Legion baseball have been legendary, but times may be changing.

Mocksville is 2-0 against Rowan County this season after holding on for a 6-4 victory at wet Newman Park late Sunday night. Mocksville (5-5) also won 7-6 in eight innings against a short-handed Rowan squad at Rich Park early in the season. Last night, Rowan had everyone it’s going to have.

Most of the story was Mocksville’s Shawn Sealey, the winning pitcher who was on the mound both before and after a lengthy rain delay and worked six innings. The only time Sealey struggled was when he was battling rain and wind in the fourth inning and temporarily lost the strike zone.

Rowan (4-8) went into it with a plan of using several pitchers.

After an efficient first inning in which he got three outs with five pitches, Rowan starter Brant Graham (0-1) encountered trouble in the second inning, as Mocksville stroked three straight hits to score a run and added a sac fly and another run-scoring single for a 3-0 lead.

Rowan reliever Southern Smith-Tilley got Mocksville out in the third, but when the Mocksville fourth began with a hit batsman and a walk, Alex Hagler was summoned from the Rowan bullpen.

MLB has just about said goodbye to the sacrifice bunt with runners at first and second and no outs, with managers reluctant to give away an out when three-run homers are a possibility for everyone in the lineup, but the result of that mindset is often a ground ball for a double play and an empty inning.

There aren’t many three-run Legion homers these days, so Mocksville coach Shaggy Wyatt called upon Cooper Bliss for a sacrifice bunt. Bliss executed, a bunt that only Rowan third baseman Drew Burton had a chance to field, and it took a nice play by Burton to get Bliss out at first. That successful bunt changed the course of the game, as it set up a three-run inning for Mocksville. After two singles and a wild pitch, Mocksville led 6-0.

It was raining hard in the bottom of the fourth. After Nate Hayworth singled for Rowan’s first hit of the night, Sealey issued four consecutive walks to Luke Graham. Burton, Elijah Palmer and Krys Hernandez, and Rowan had cut its deficit to 6-2. Play was stopped after the walk to Hernandez.

Play resumed at the relatively late hour of 9:30 p.m. Sealey still had something left after the delay, and he struck out Rowan’s 8 and 9 hitters with the bases full to preserve Mocksville’s 6-2 lead.

Hagler settled in starting with the top of the fifth and became the bright spot of the night for Rowan County. He finished the game and struck out seven.

Matthew Connolly led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple, Rowan’s first three-bagger of the season. After Hayworth’s ground out to the right side — it was an unusual 3-4 putout on a close play at first base — scored Connolly, Rowan trailed 6-3.

Riley Campbell, who produced two run-scoring singles as a hitter, came in to close the game for Mocksville in the seventh and was able to do so, although Rowan offered some resistance. After Connolly walked and Logan Dyer doubled, Rowan was able to bring the tying run to the plate, but Rowan could only score one run. Campbell got the final out of the game on a line out by Palmer.

Rowan had more runs (four) than hits (three) and still will be looking for its first h0mer of the season when Davidson County visits Newman Park on Monday night at 7 p.m.


Kannapolis and Concord played to a 1-all tie that was stopped by rain. Daxton Savage had the RBI for Kannapolis on a sac fly.