Legion loses to Rowan and High Point

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

After standing tall at 5-1 in the Southern Division on June 23, the Mocksville Senior Legion baseball team hit a terrible stretch.

But fortunately for Post 174, it still managed to finish second in the division and qualify for the four-team playoffs in Area III.

When Rowan County visited Rich Park on the final day of regular season on June 29, first place in the division was on the line. Mocksville had a couple things working in its favor – it was at home and it had ace Shawn Sealey on the hill.

Mocksville, though, suffered a disappointing 16-4 loss in six innings. It was anybody’s game going into the sixth, but the sixth was brutal as Rowan dropped 11 runs on the hosts by sending 15 batters to the plate.

Rowan, which won for the 12th time in 15 games since a rocky 2-7 start, improved to 14-10 overall and 6-2 in the division. Mocksville fell to 10-12 and 5-4, taking second despite a three-game slide.

Sealey had been amazing, coming in with a 4-1 record and a four-game winning streak in which he had logged at least six innings in each. But he simply didn’t have it on this night, allowing 10 hits and five walks in 5.1 innings.

“Shawn tried his best and we had everything lined up pretty well, but he wasn’t on his game that day,” coach Tristan Wyatt said.

Mocksville had a promising start. After Rowan struck for two runs in the top of the first, Mocksville immediately trumped that. In the bottom half, Sealey, Bryson Morrison, Jacob Fleming and Mason Moxley stunned Rowan starter Brant Graham with four hits as Mocksville jumped ahead 3-2.

Mocksville pushed its lead to 4-2 in the second. Sealey singled with two outs, advanced on Caden Irvin’s hit and scored on a wild pitch.

“We put a little bit of pressure on them because they started warming somebody up in the bullpen,” Wyatt said.

It had battered Graham with six hits in the first two innings. Alas, it would not get another hit as Graham recovered in time to work five innings.

The good feelings ended in the Rowan fourth, when the visitors unleashed four straight hits to turn Mocksville’s 4-2 lead into a 5-4 deficit. Sealey escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, but Graham struck out the side in order in the bottom of the fifth.

Then came the brutal sixth. Rowan piled up 11 runs on nine hits, two walks and a hit batsman against Sealey and reliever Riley Campbell.

“(Sealey) was walking a few batters, we had a few errors here and there and they just capitalized,” Wyatt said. “That was plain and simple Rowan County baseball. If you give them an inch, they’re going to take a mile.”

Sealey went 2 for 3 with two runs. Getting one hit were Irvin (1-3), Morrison (1-2, walk), Fleming (1-3) and Moxley (1-3, two RBIs).

Rowan, which finished with 15 hits, beat Mocksville for the second time in five days after dropping the first two meetings this season. Mocksville won 7-6 in eight innings and then 6-4. Rowan won the third meeting 4-2.

“The offense was there at the beginning, but I don’t know what happened,” Wyatt said. “After the second inning, we fell into a black hole and couldn’t get anything going.”

High Point 10, Mocksville 0

The tailspin continued in the first game of the playoffs on July 3. High-powered High Point trounced visiting Mocksville in game one of the best-of-five series.

This was a matchup of the No. 2 seed from the Southern Division against the top seed from the Northern Division. The other playoff series matched Rowan against Davidson County.

While High Point ran its record to 18-4, Mocksville’s scoreless streak reached nine innings, it was shut out for the first time this season and it matched its longest losing streak (four) of the season.

High Point scored in all five of its at-bats while roughing up four pitchers. Cruising to the shutout win was Max McGinn, who scattered six hits and did not yield a walk.

Cooper Bliss went 2 for 2 to lead Post 174. Irvin and Morrison both went 1-2, and Sealey and Campbell went 1-3.

“It could have been a lot closer than it was,” Wyatt said. “We had too many runners left on base, and there were little things that could have been handled differently. I believe we could have lost 3- or 4-0. I mean, it shouldn’t have been a blowout like it was.”

It was the third blowout loss to High Point in three meetings. The other two scores were 10-4 and 11-4.