Legion struggling in non-league games
By Brian Pitts
The Mocksville Legion baseball team missed a wonderful opportunity in the season opener at Randolph County on June 13, blowing a 5-1 lead in a 7-5 loss.
Since taking that four-run lead in the top of the fourth, Mocksville has struggled mightily.
The feeble offensive numbers during an 0-4 start: .171 batting average and 2.7 runs per game on average. Of its 17 hits, 16 have been singles. It has been outscored 30-11.
Mocksville could not have charged out of the gate much better. In the top of the first at Randolph, in the first Legion game since July 2019 (the 2020 season was erased by COVID-19), JT Bumgarner singled to knock in Trot Byerly and Jovany Mendez.
After Randolph sliced Mocksville’s lead to 2-1, Post 174’s offense went to work in the fourth. Dan Loyd walked and Landon Lowtharpe singled. Two outs later, Logan Allen flared a single down the right-field line to plate two, and Byerly followed with a run-scoring single as Mocksville pushed its lead to 5-1.
Then came the meltdown. Randolph put up three runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth. Then Mocksville went down meekly in the seventh.
Mocksville managed just five hits and committed three errors. By contrast, Randolph collected nine hits off two pitchers and played error-free defense.
“We were missing players – four were at the beach – but they didn’t have all their players either,” coach Charles Kurfees said. “Randolph is going to be tough when they get everybody there. They’ve got four high school teams in the state playoffs.”
Mocksville’s hits came from Byerly (1 for 3, walk), Mendez (1-4), Bumgarner (1-2, walk), Lowtharpe (1-2, walk) and Allen (1-3).
HP 5, Mocksville 3
Jaydon Holder pitched three-hit ball for five innings, but it wasn’t enough in a 5-3 loss at High Point on June 15.
It was too familiar for Holder, who pitched superbly in three narrow losses during his sophomore season for Davie. The War Eagles lost 3-2 at West Forsyth when Holder pitched a complete game with one earned run. They lost 3-2 at East Forsyth when Holder threw a complete game with one walk. They lost 1-0 to Reagan as Holder tossed a complete game with no earned runs and one walk. Despite his 2.75 ERA, his record was 1-3.
And against the HiToms, all three runs off Holder were unearned.
Both teams were limited to four hits. The difference: Mocksville made six errors (High Point had one).
Again Mocksville struck first. Byerly singled on the game’s first pitch, went to third on an outfielder’s error and scored on Mendez’s ground out.
Mocksville had three errors in High Point’s three-run fifth. It never recovered, the margin growing to 5-1 in the sixth.
To Mocksville’s credit, it did not give up. Allen and Elijah Miller drew walks in the seventh. An error on Mendez’s ball plated two runs, but High Point got a strikeout to end it.
All the Mocksville hits came from two guys – Byerly (2-4) and Lowtharpe (2-3).
Randolph 11, Mocksville 2
The home opener against Randolph on June 17 was ugly from the beginning. It was 3-0 before Mocksville came to the plate.
Reed Cunningham (2-2, double, walk), Lowtharpe (1-3), Loyd (1-2, walk), Wesley Mason (1-3) and Allen (1-2, walk) had the team’s six hits. Randolph banged out 13 hits against two arms.
It was a nice season debut for Cunningham, who will play college ball at Ferrum next year. He got the team’s first extra-base hit in three games.
HP 7, Mocksville 1
Mocksville continued to flounder against visiting High Point on June 18. Post 174 was outhit 11-2 and was facing an uphill climb from the top of the first on.
Lowtharpe (1-3) and Loyd (1-2, walk) had the only two hits.
Bayden Hazlip did not have a bad line even though he was tagged with the loss. In six innings, he walked one, struck out seven and threw 41 of 48 pitches for strikes. He also fired first-pitch strikes to 26 of 28 batters. Still, the HiToms pounded out nine hits against him and cruised to victory.
Notes: Mocksville’s losing streak grew to six with losses of 18-4 to visiting Greensboro on June 19 and 6-5 at Davidson County on June 21. … Post 174 finally got an elusive win on June 25, getting major revenge against Greensboro with a 7-4 road victory. …. Mocksville lost 3-2 at home to Stokes County on June 26 as its record sank to 1-7. … Mocksville’s Southern Division opener was Sunday at Rowan County.