Ad Spot

August 5, 2021

High school baseball: Round 2 for South, East

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The randomly seeded NCHSAA baseball playoffs were expected to create more upset possibilities than usual, and in Tuesday’s first round, seeding proved to mean absolutely nothing.

There were eight No. 1 vs. 16 games around the state. The 16 seeds won half of them. The 2 vs. 15 games were also a 4-4 split.

No bracket was busted as thoroughly as the 2A West bracket that includes South Rowan.

No. 16 Ledford, No. 15 South Rowan, No. 14 South Point and No. 13 Forbush sent the top four seeds home.

West Wilkes, the No. 5 seed, and No. 6 seed R-S Central were the only home teams to win in the 2A West.

In the 1A West and 3A East, No. 12 seeds will get to play a second-round home game tonight vs. No. 13s. That’s not business as usual.

•••

South Rowan (13-3) has won eight in a row and had a chance to be the last team standing in the 2A West even before the bracket collapsed.

Now the Raiders take on a familiar opponent — Central Carolina Conference rival Oak Grove. South will travel to Midway, about 12 miles south of Winston-Salem, to take on the 10th-seeded Grizzlies.

South has reasons to be confident. The Raiders clobbered the Grizzlies 10-0 in the semifinals of last week’s CCC tournament, a dramatic reversal of a 9-6 South home loss to Oak Grove during the regular season. Oak Grove got up 6-0 early in that first meeting and was able to hang on. South lefty Haiden Leffew dominated the rematch, and the Raiders prevailed convincingly via the 10-run rule.

South employed Leffew to beat West Stanly on Tuesday, so Luke Hiskey (2-0) is the probable pitcher for the Raiders tonight. Jackson Deal (2-0) also is available, and Chandler Oddie, who threw 38 pitches in relief on Tuesday, will be eligible to pitch again.

All nine South hits on Tuesday came from the top four in the lineup. The Raiders will count on veterans Kane Kepley, Nathan Chrismon, Ty Hubbard and Deal to stay hot.

Oak Grove (11-3) is coached by former Catawba star David Thomas, who is now a member of the Indians’ Sports Hall of Fame.

Thomas was named as Oak Grove’s first head coach. Oak Grove began competing in baseball in the spring of 2018, but quickly made an impact in the CCC. That wasn’t a shock. The new school drew its students from the Ledford/North Davidson area. Those two schools are traditional powers.

Trenton Doss, a junior, had a homer and a triple and carried Oak Grove’s offense in Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Madison. The Grizzlies won that one after a road trip of about three hours. Brady Turner did most of the pitching for Oak Grove in Round 1, so sophomore Ethan Yarbrough and junior Brennan Hord probably will be counted on to pitch tonight. South has had success against both of them. Freshman Dawson Shelton relieved in the first round.

•••

East’s Jake Hunter hit a homer to win the game Tuesday night. photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

Third-seeded East Rowan was expected to have a relatively easy first-round game against wild card Western Guilford, but things didn’t go according to the script.

The Mustangs needed eight innings and a walk-off homer by Jake Hunter to win 5-4 and extend their season.

East jumped out early 4-0 and was cruising behind unbeaten starting pitcher Cameron Padgett, but four errors helped Western Guilford get back in the game.

East (13-2) has won seven straight since losing to West Rowan on May 21.

The Mustangs will be playing a good team in the second round tonight in 11th-seeded Sun Valley (12-3). First pitch at Staton Field is at 7 p.m.

Sun Valley won at previously unbeaten Southwest Guilford on Tuesday.

Sun Valley is a Union County school and plays in an excellent baseball league — the Southern Carolina.

Sun Valley finished second to Cuthbertson in conference play. Sun Valley lost twice to Cuthbertson and split two games with third-place Marvin Ridge. That league also includes strong baseball school such as Weddington, Piedmont and Charlotte Catholic.

Sun Valley, Cuthbertson and wild card Marvin Ridge all won in the first round of the playoffs.

Sun Valley has been scoring about eight runs per game, while allowing three.

East will count on Hunter (3-2) on the mound tonight. The East Carolina signee hasn’t had the season he expected to have, but the senior pitched his best game of the season in his last outing, a shutout of West Rowan in the North Piedmont Conference Tournament championship game.

Then Hunter came up big with his bat (triple, homer, 3 runs scored) on Tuesday. He also made two outstanding defensive plays at first base.

East has a good lineup, with freshman shortstop Cobb Hightower (.380) leading off  and Aiden Schenck, Griffin Warden and Morgan Padgett providing some power in the middle.

Austin Fulk had two hits on Tuesday and is now batting .383 for the season.

•••

Carson bowed out Tuesday with a 3-2 loss at St. Stephens in eight innings.

The Cougars (9-5) led 2-0 early and got a stellar pitching effort from Hayden Simmerson, but the bats were quiet.

 

2A WEST (2nd round)

(16) Ledford at (9) East Lincoln

(13) Forbush at (5) West Wilkes

(14) South Point at (6) R-S Central

(15) South Rowan at (10) Oak Grove

  

3A WEST (2nd round)

(16) North Henderson at (9) Cox Mill

(12) Marvin Ridge at (4) TC Roberson

(11) Sun Valley at (3) East Rowan

(7) Cuthbertson at (2) St. Stephens

  

 

 

Comments

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 vaccination numbers see major improvement after inclusion of new data

News

Top shot: World champion skeet shooter conquers competition, helps grow sport

Business

Local cultural institutions receive funding from Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program

Local

David Freeze: New Mexico brings mostly flat roads

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools teachers reflect on summer institute

Education

Education briefs: Superintendent awards excellence in educational performance

Kannapolis

Mayor Alexander talks infrastructure, growth with Kannapolis, Concord mayors on ‘Charlotte Talks’ radio show

Legion baseball

Baseball: Honeycutt excited, humbled by being drafted

High School

High school football preview: Falcons have experienced offense

Local

Olympics: Livingstone graduate Hayes among final eight in 400

Local

Freeze: Day 9 — What makes the best day

Crime

Salisbury Police talk worsening crime data, initiatives at first Neighborhood Action Group meeting

Local

Spencer’s Park Plaza town hall project still on track, change order coming

Education

RCCC names new foundation director

News

North Carolina experts worry as schools don’t require masks

News

NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel

Crime

Salisbury man charged with 79-year-old woman’s murder says cellphone location resulted in charges

Health

Salisbury City Council will return to virtual meetings, require face masks in city buildings

Landis

Landis goes big with two helicopters for National Night Out

Local

Spencer and East Spencer join forces for National Night Out

Local

City Council approves Grants Landing development on Rowan Mill Road

Education

In lighter-than-usual year, RSS nutrition staff serve more than 100,000 summer meals

Nation/World

CDC issues new eviction ban for most of US through Oct. 3

Nation/World

Pushback challenges vaccination requirements at US colleges