Juniors win barnburner at Carson

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

For the second time in three days, the Mocksville Junior Legion baseball team walked a tightrope to victory, winning 7-6 at Carson on June 15.

In the previous game, Mocksville survived 4-3 over South Rowan.

“People playing out of position have done a really good job,” coach Chad Cox said. “We’ve got a little momentum right now and we just have to ride it out.”

This one was a doozy. Mocksville broke out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on a hit batsman, a walk, a Nate Barr single and a two-out error. Carson answered in the bottom of the first with four unearned runs.

Then Mocksville responded with three runs in the second. The only hit of the inning was a triple by Craig McBride that brought in Jacob Morgan and Carson Queen.

Carson opened the home half of the third with four straight hits to tie the game at 6. The damage could have been worse, but left fielder Joe Barnes gunned down a runner at third with a throw to Corbin Angus.

“It was a very close play,” Cox said. “It was actually a controversial play between the umpire and Carson’s coaches. It got heated. They thought they got it wrong. It was a bang-bang play, but the call on the field stood.”

Mocksville pushed across what proved to be the clinching run in the fifth. Angus took second on a two-base error, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by Logan Allen.

How about Allen? He gave Mocksville the 7-6 lead and he turned two unassisted double plays at shortstop. It was a game filled with defensive highlights. Angus and Kason Stewart turned a 5-4-3 DP to end the sixth. First baseman Barr and catcher Queen added spectacular plays.

“The real story was the defense,” Cox said. “We turned three double plays. Nate had a really good catch in foul territory as he crashed into the fence.”

McBride went 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs. Allen came up big as Mocksville won despite getting outhit 9-5. But the credit has to spread to pitcher Parker Davis. After having some bumpy outings, he threw as well as anyone could have hoped for while going the distance. He scattered nine hits, allowed two earned runs and only walked three to help Mocksville pick up a division win.

In the bottom of the seventh, Davis worked around a leadoff double. He retired three straight batters with a popup to Queen, a groundout to second baseman Stewart and a flyout to center fielder McBride.

“Parker stepped up tonight,” Cox said. “He was struggling the last couple of outings, but he was dialed in tonight. The key to anybody’s success is eliminating the freebies and letting your defense do the work. And our defense is strong enough to back up our pitching.”

Queen continued to show his mettle as the emergency catcher.

“Again Carson came to play behind the plate,” Cox said after Queen put the gear on for the second straight game. “He had a phenomenal game back there. He caught two foul balls. One was a really elevated foul ball. The other one was a diving catch in the seventh inning. He laid out behind the plate.”

Queen went 1 for 2 with two runs and reached base three times. Barr (1-4) and Allen (1-3) had one hit each.

Mt. Ulla 9, Mock 2

After pulling out heartstoppers against South Rowan and Carson, Mocksville was underwhelming in a home game against Mt. Ulla on June 16.

Post 174 trailed 8-0 after three and a half innings, was outhit 12-3 and struck out 12 times.

Mocksville’s hits came from Angus (2-3) and Queen (1-3). Its third pitcher of the night was a bright spot, with Barnes striking out three straight batters in the top of the seventh.

Mocksville entered Sunday at 5-6 overall and 4-5 in the division.