American Legion baseball: Rowan wins 3 of 4 over weekend

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Staff report

SALISBURY — Not many American Legion baseball teams have an All-American in the lineup.

Rowan County does.

West Rowan 2023 graduate Matthew Connolly, who had an incredible freshman season at Surry Community College, was Division III Region 10 Player of the Year and a first team All-America catcher.

Connolly has been very good since joining the team, and greatness may be just around the corner. Rowan (11-10) may need him to be great if it’s going to make the playoffs.

Connolly blasted three doubles and had four hits to lead Rowan’s 10-3 win against Morgantown (W.V.) on Sunday afternoon at Newman Park.

Rowan went 3-1 in the three-day affair against teams from Maryland and West Virginia.

Rowan showed some pitching depth during the event. Brant Graham (2-2) was impressive on Sunday, throwing strikes for six efficient innings. The visitors scored single runs in the first  and fifth against Graham. They added one more run in the seventh when Connolly took the mound for the first time this summer. Connolly plunked the first two batters he faced.

Connolly doubled and scored in the first when Luke Graham hit into a force out but beat the relay on a double-play attempt.

Rowan’s six-run second was decisive. Eli Graham’s bunt single helped trigger it. Connolly’s two-run double was the key hit in the big inning.

Connolly’s third double drove in a run in the fifth. Rowan tacked on two more in the sixth.

Logan Dyer had another strong game as Rowan’s lead-off hitter. He had three hits and scored twice.

Elijah Palmer also had three hits, including a run-scoring single in that huge second inning.

Nate Hayworth had two hits. Luke Graham drove in two runs. Drew Burton and Joe Burleyson had run-scoring hits.

Rowan plays a huge home against Mocksville on Tuesday.


Rowan is 3-2 in the division with two games left with Mocksville and one each with Concord and Kannapolis. Only two Southern Division teams will qualify for the playoffs. Mocksville is listed at 4-2 in the standings, but that could change to 5-1, as Mocksville has protested Friday’s loss to Concord. Mocksville’s protest is based on a claim that Concord used an ineligible player. A ruling on the protest is expected on Monday or Tuesday.


Kannapolis is 4-3 in the division after surviving 3-2 against Concord in an eight-inning game on Saturday. Blake Gaffney struck out eight and gave Kannapolis a chance to win. Brett Morris was the winning pitcher in relief.

Daxton Savage had the walk-off hit in the eighth.

Conner Coy had two hits for Kannapolis. Jack Petersen and Brooks Hubbard had RBIs.

Kannapolis has division games left with Concord and Rowan County.


Rowan built a 5-1 lead on Saturday night behind the pitching of Evan Koontz, but let that game slip away. St. Mary’s (Md.) scored seven runs in the sixth and beat Rowan County 8-6.


On Saturday afternoon, Rowan rolled to 7-3 victory against Berkeley County (W.V.)

Nate Greene’s great relief effort keyed the win. Luke Graham and Connolly drove in three runs each.


On Friday night, Rowan beat St. Mary’s 6-4.

Dyer’s sixth-inning triple was the key blow after St. Mary’s had rallied for a 4-all tie.

Hayworth was the winning pitcher in relief.