Angus improbable mound answer for Junior Legion
Published 1:00 pm Monday, July 3, 2023
By Brian Pitts
It was mostly a forgettable week for American Legion baseball, but a seven-game stretch between two Mocksville teams ended on a good note thanks to a back-from-the-dead win by Corbin Angus and the Junior Legion squad.
First, let’s review the string of losses. The senior team was crushed twice at home. It lost 11-1 in five innings to Rowan County on June 28, and it lost 12-4 to Kannapolis on June 30.
Rowan is a juggernaut as usual, leaving Rich Park with records of 26-3 overall and 6-0 in the Southern Division. It blasted three home runs and got one-hit pitching from lefthander Mike Beasley, a Carson graduate who has signed with Surry Community College. Two nights later against Kannapolis, Mocksville lost for the sixth time in seven games. It was the third loss in four meetings with Kannapolis. Mocksville entered July 2 at 5-9 overall and 1-4 in the division.
It wasn’t all bad news for the senior club. It held a 2-1 lead when a game at Mooresville on June 26 was suspended by rain. The game will be completed July 6 at Rich Park as part of a doubleheader. The game was stopped with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Mooresville has runners on first and second.
Meanwhile, the Mocksville Junior Legion cooled considerably after winning four of five. The first two games of the week were downright miserable. It lost 14-0 at High Point on June 26. The game was stopped after four innings by rain. Angus (1 for 1) had the only Mocksville hit. Carson Queen gave up three hits in 1.1 innings of relief, but he did not allow any runs to a High Point team that piled up 15 hits. It was a quick knockout as High Point pounded out nine runs on eight hits in the first inning.
One day later, Mocksville stumbled and bumbled at Mt. Ulla, losing 13-0 in five innings. Again, Mocksville had an awful start, watching the hosts score seven first-inning runs on four walks and three hits. Mocksville’s six hits came from Queen (2-3), Logan Allen (2-2), Kason Stewart (1-3) and Nate Barr (1-2).
Mocksville continued to spiral at home against Carson on June 29. Another bad first inning all but ruined its chances as the visitors put up five runs on four hits, two hit batsmen and an error in their first at-bat. Mocksville faced a 12-0 deficit before rallying and making the 15-10 final look more respectable.
Mocksville actually outhit Carson 13-10, but that advantage was negated by six errors. Six different players had multiple hits: Stewart (3-5, three runs), Allen (2-3, two runs, two walks, HBP), Jacob Hicks (2-4, two runs, two RBIs, double), Angus (2-5, four RBIs, double), Joe Barnes (2-4) and Chris Barringer (2-2, two walks). Barr drew a pair of walks.
A ray of sunshine amid three straight losses by an aggregate score of 42-10 was Angus, who worked the last 1.2 innings as Mocksville’s fifth pitcher of the game. He retired all five batters in a span of 17 pitches, including two on strikes. Not bad for a guy who had not pitched all season.
“He’s not a pitcher, never been a pitcher,” coach Chad Cox said. “It’s been a running joke over the years that he wanted an inning. I said: ‘Let’s see what you’ve got.’ In the situation we were in, it was the perfect opportunity to give him that. To our surprise, he pitched really well. That was a highlight at the end. We lost but we ended on a high note.”
Mock 7, Kann 6
What a downer it would have been to lose to Kannapolis Post 115 after belting that team 10-0 six days earlier. Mocksville was on life support going into the top of the seventh – down 6-3 – but it came storming back to steal the win on the road on June 30. No one was more instrumental than Angus, who made an impact at the plate and on the mound.
The game started out like the 10-0 decision from the first meeting. In the top of the first, Queen and Allen scored to give Mocksville a 2-0 lead. In the second, Mocksville took advantage of two walks and Barnes scored to make it 3-0.
But the home half of the fourth saw a drastic turn of events. Kannapolis pushed across six runs on three walks, two hits, an error and a hit batter. Mocksville’s offense did nothing from the third through the sixth, and it looked absolutely done as the game headed to the seventh.
“We had some defensive blunders that allowed them to creep back and take the lead,” Cox said.
The spark in the seventh was No. 9 batter Xander Shinsky, who walked on a 3-2 pitch. The next batter struck out, but Allen walked, Stewart singled and Hicks singled to plate two runs and tie the game at 6. Kannapolis made its second pitching change of the inning, but that didn’t stop the Mocksville momentum. A hit by Angus brought in the tiebreaking run.
Mocksville had the 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, and its improbable answer (Angus) was on the mound as Mocksville’s third pitcher of the night. It turned out that his relief work against Carson was not fluky.
“I said: ‘Corbin, you want it again?’” Cox said. “He said: ‘Yes, I do.’”
Angus plunked the first batter, but then got a strikeout on three pitches. He induced a groundout to shortstop Queen. That was the second out, but it was far from over. Angus hit another batter and a successful double steal put runners at second and third. Two pitches later, Angus got a swinging strike to end the game.
“The manner in which the boys did it was awesome,” Cox said. “They left a crack in the door and here we come barging through. With the adrenalin that was running through Corbin, he probably could have run through a brick wall. That boosted his confidence to the moon. Corbin is very baseball savvy and has a lot of baseball knowledge. He had a plan and he struck out the last guy.”
Even though it was a high-scoring game, both teams only had four hits. Hicks (2-4) had half of Mocksville’s knocks. Stewart and Angus both went 1-3. Joshua Whitaker (3.1 innings) and Jacob Morgan (1.1 innings) were the pitchers before Angus took over in the middle of the fifth.
Notes: One day after the furious rally over Kannapolis Post 115, Mocksville capped the regular season with a big 4-2 home win over Kannapolis Post 146. … Mocksville went 9-9 overall and 8-8 in the division and doesn’t know yet if that will be good enough to finish in the top four and qualify for the playoffs. The season might be over. “There’s a glimmer of hope,” Cox said. “Carson has to lose some games. I heard Carson has to play five more games.” … A story on the 4-2 win will appear next week.