Senior Legion wins four of five

Published 9:23 am Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Mocksville Senior Legion baseball team was 0-4 on May 29. At the conclusion of a wild June 1 game, Post 174 had gone from nowheresville to goosebumps.

Mocksville beat visiting Rowan County by an eyelash, 7-6 in eight innings, for its second win in two days, and coach Tristan Wyatt felt ecstatic.

“I told the boys it’s one of the most exciting wins I’ve had in American Legion because I had never beaten Rowan as a coach or a player,” Wyatt said. “And it felt so good to finally get a chance to do it. A lot of emotions ran through my mind once we won.”

After only managing one run in each of its first four games, Rowan, which was missing key guys from East Rowan High, erupted for five runs in the second inning. Wyatt challenged his boys to wake up and do something about it.

“We gave them three of those runs,” Wyatt said. “We had a dropped ball in right field. We bobbled the ball in the infield. Once we eliminate the errors, we’re going to be one heck of a ball team.”

And then: “I did set a little bit of a tone,” he said sheepishly. “I had to pump the guys up. You could say it was a tantrum, but it was kind of a little push. I said: ‘Hey, we’re not out of it yet.’ And then we came in and scored three.”

Yep, despair turned to hope when Mocksville answered with a three-spot in the bottom of the second.

After four Mocksville batters struck out in the fourth, the home team rallied to tie in the fifth. Cooper Whitley led off with a double and the next batter walked. Two outs later, Myles Crocker made it 5-5 with a two-run single.

Holy cow, what a fun game this turned out to be. In the top of the sixth, Rowan broke the tie by scoring on a wild pitch, but Luke Graham was thrown out trying to score from third when a pitch got by the catcher.

In the seventh, Rowan took two walks but relief pitcher Crocker got out of it unscathed.

In the bottom of the seventh, Mocksville hammered out a 6-6 tie in a span of four pitches. Aundray Russell doubled and scored on Bryson Morrison’s single.

In the top of the eighth, Rowan got a leadoff single but failed to score. In the bottom of the eighth, Evan Hyde walked on four pitches and advanced on Tyson Combs’ bunt. Whitley and Russell drew walks to load the bases for Morrison. But before Morrison could potentially play hero, Hyde scampered home on a wild pitch and Mocksville celebrated a big win over a 40-year nemesis.

“I was actually going to take out (Hyde),” Wyatt said. “He looked at me and said: ‘Coach, I’ve got speed, so leave me in.’ Lo and behold, he scored. After the game, I told him: ‘I won’t doubt you ever again.’”

Crocker was the star of the game, but starter Riley Campbell, a lefty from Forbush who is headed to Western Carolina, deserves some credit for logging 5.1 innings and striking out seven. He gave up six runs, but only one was earned as Mocksville committed four errors.

Crocker came out of nowhere and stifled Rowan’s offense with effectively wild pitching. He walked three and threw more balls than strikes, but yet he worked 2.2 hitless/scoreless innings while fanning five. It was quite a Legion debut on the mound for the lefthander from Wesleyan Christian Academy.

“That’s probably a guy you’re going to be hearing a lot about,” Wyatt said. “Myles was very big in the win.”

Mocksville’s seven hits came from seven guys. Russell was 1 for 3 with two walks, Morrison 1-4, Caden Irvin 1-4, Crocker 1-3, Jay Brookshire 1-4, Campbell 1-2 and Whitley 1-3. Hyde had two walks and two runs.

Wyatt believes Mocksville, which is pulling from a whooping 10 schools, could become a force to be reckoned with. The 10 schools are Davie, Atkins, Forbush, North Iredell, Oak Grove, Reynolds, Southwest Guilford, Starmount, Wesleyan Christian Academy and West Forsyth.

“I see so much potential with this team; that’s why the first four games were so frustrating,” Wyatt said. “We have the talent. We just have to mix all these high schools together and form a team.”

In Rowan’s defense, it fell to 1-4 on the same day that East Rowan captured the 3-A state championship. It will bring a stronger squad when it meets Mocksville again.

Mock 6, Randolph 2

Mocksville fell to Randolph County on May 24, but Shawn Sealey’s pitching was absolutely beautiful and Post 174 settled the score in Asheboro on June 2.

Sealey went 6.1 innings, gave up five hits and piled up nine strikeouts. It was a reassuring performance after he got shelled in the season opener at High Point.

“One of our key players was no doubt Shawn Sealey,” Wyatt said. “He was lights out. Shawn struggled at the beginning and gave up two runs, but he dialed in from there.”

It was the third win in as many days for Mocksville, which got big offensive production from Brookshire, who attends North Iredell.

“Jay was a key player,” Wyatt said. “He had a two-run single and he also had a double.”

Wyatt was pleased with every facet of the game, including his defensive adjustments.

“The defense was absolutely stellar behind (Sealey),” he said. “Bryson moved to shortstop (with regular SS Sealey on the mound), I put Mason Moxley on third and Jacob Hicks behind the plate. They all did well. I have the upmost faith in them. It’s all coming together now.”’

ER 9, Mock 2

This was simply a rough night for the home team. Eastern Randolph (7-1) took a commanding lead in the second and cruised past Mocksville on June 4.

Sealey went 2 for 3. Morrison (1-4), Moxley (1-2, double), Hicks (1-2), Crocker (1-3) and Campbell (1-1) had one hit each.

Mock 13, Anson 2

Two nights later, Mocksville responded as well as possible. Aaron Hutchens put on a show and Post 174 drubbed Anson County at Rich Park.

Hutchens got the party started with a first-inning triple. On the next pitch, Crocker cracked a double. Campbell and Moxley followed with singles as Mocksville struck for four runs on four hits and a walk.

Mocksville piled on four runs in the third and five more in the fourth, the game ending after four and a half via the mercy rule.

Hutchens was magnificent. In five innings on the mound, he spun a two-hitter with zero walks and six strikeouts while averaging 11.8 pitches per inning. At the plate, he went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, two runs, a double and a triple.

“He was the standout of the day both defensively and offensively,” Wyatt said of the Forbush product.

Moxley (3-3) matched Hutchens with three hits. Brookshire (2-3, two RBIs) and Hicks (2-3, two RBIs) had two each. Crocker (1-2, two walks), Campbell (1-3) and Hyde (1-3) had one apiece as Mocksville finished with 13 base knocks. Morrison walked twice and scored twice.

After winning for the fourth time in five games, Wyatt only had one complaint – three errors.

“We had some errors in the field,” he said. “That’s my biggest concern heading into Rowan and Kannapolis. I feel comfortable with the team heading into conference play; the only thing we need to worry about is minimizing the errors. Because teams like Rowan, Kannapolis and Concord will eat that up.”

This was the second win over Anson for Mocksville (4-5), which won the first meeting 7-2.