By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — The primary official baseball practices occurred manner again on Valentine’s Day, and East Rowan and South Rowan’s baseball groups nonetheless haven’t settled who’s No. 1.
Each groups accomplished the common season on Friday with 13-1 South Piedmont Convention data.
Nobody might bear in mind somebody going 13-1 and solely tying for first, however everybody agrees this was not an odd season.
“Well, we did get a piece of it,” mentioned East head coach Brett Hatley, who had hoped for higher information from the South-West Rowan sport, however hadn’t actually anticipated it. “Co-champs. We’ll run with that.”
The South-East debate lastly will likely be settled, no less than briefly, subsequent week on the South discipline.
There are a number of SPC groups which are adequate to knock both of them off on the correct evening, however chances are high good that the Mustangs (who received at South) and the Raiders (who received at Staton Subject), will go at it for a 3rd time onThursday at 7 p.m. within the match championship sport.
Convention tournaments all the time imply trophies and bragging rights and stable gate receipts, however this one might imply far more. Past the native championship, the SPC match is prone to determine the No. 1 seed for the whole 3A West bracket. East and South at present are 1-2 within the 3A West RPI rankings.
The No. 2 seed from the SPC can’t be seeded forward of any of the convention champions within the bracket. So that you’re being the No. 1 seed or possibly being the No. 9 seed. One thing like that. That’s a critical swing.
East dealt with Northwest Cabarrus 7-2 at Staton Subject on Friday to complete its stellar common season with a 21-3 document and takes a five-game profitable streak into the postseason.
Undefeated Probability Mako, the towering right-hander who was an early commit for N.C. State, was one out away from an entire sport when he reached the pitch-count restrict. He walked three and uncorked three wild pitches, however he struck out eight in a poised efficiency towards a top quality group.
East trailed 1-0 in a rush after Trent Grigley bounced a single via the left facet and Landon Finley doubled, simply honest, down the right-field line.
East bought that run again within the backside of the primary when Griffin Warden’s double chased house Cobb Hightower.
Austin Fulk had a lead-off hit for the Mustangs within the second, as they took the lead for good. No. 9 batter Logan Dyer and Hightower delivered the two-out hits that made it 2-1 after which 3-1. Hightower crushed a double to left-center.
“I thought we were really locked in, played hard and played well, played the way you want to play on Senior Night,” Hatley mentioned. “Mako was a standout, Dyer was really clutch and all our guys were solid. We did the little things well. We were aggressive on the bases, while also being smart on the bases.”
East stole 5 bases. Most of these thefts figured within the scoring column.
East by no means strung collectively an enormous inning, nevertheless it was a relentless offensive assault (10 hits, 4 walks, a lot of deep counts) that put strain on the Trojans each inning. Northwest sophomore Dalton Hazlett wasn’t dangerous in any respect, however he wanted 90 pitches to get via 4 innings. Finley pitched the final two.
East didn’t have to bat within the seventh, however the Mustangs scored within the different six innings.
Morgan Padgett’s well-struck sac fly made it 4-1 within the third. Dyer’s second RBI single made it 5-1 within the fourth and he walked with the bases full for extra insurance coverage within the fifth.
Fulk’s line drive single to left with two outs within the sixth made it 7-1.
East additionally made some key defensive performs.
Issues might need gotten loads tighter within the high of the fifth, when tht inning started in promising trend for the guests with a single and a stroll. Mako needed to make play to get an out on a sacrifice bunt, and with runners at second and third and one out, Northwest had its likelihood.
However Mako got here again from a 3-and-0 depend to get a strikeout. Then catcher Tristan Miller picked a straying runner off second base to finish the menace.
“The runner was getting way too much off the bag,” Hatley mentioned. “It was there, and Tristan and Cobb (who made the tag) executed.”
East turned a double play to assist Mako within the sixth. Hightower, the shortstop, was shaded close to the bag, and a groundball discovered him for a straightforward twin killing.
“That was a layup for Cobb,” Hatley mentioned.
Two East miscues led to a Northwest run within the seventh, however the Mustangs had been in a position to nail down the final out on a base-running mistake.
The 21 wins is essentially the most for East because the 2014 squad went 22-8. There must be fairly a number of extra sooner or later.
“Good regular season, but we hope we’re just getting started,” Hatley mentioned.
NOTES: Perhaps he was impressed by the newest win. East assistant coach Michael Pinkston proposed marriage on the sphere after the sport. “Now that was an awesome moment,” Hatley mentioned. … Northwest (14-7, 8-6) tied West Rowan and Carson for third place. In the present day’s convention assembly will kind that impasse out in addition to decide all-conference squads. … A coin flip will decide if East or South is the No. 1 seed for the match. No. 1 performs Harmony Monday, whereas No. 2 will tackle Lake Norman Constitution. … Semifinals will likely be performed at South Tuesday. Assuming the Raiders are within the semis, they’ll play the later sport.
Northwest 100 000 1 — 2 3 1
East 121 111 0 — 7 10 3
W — Mako (7-0). L — Hazlett (3-2).
Main hitters —East: Dyer 2-for-2, 3 RBIs; Fulk 2-for-3, RBI.