MOUNT ULLA — The win was the 15th of West Rowan senior Michael Ball’s career, and it may have been the easiest and breeziest of the 15.
Ball fanned 10 in four innings, as West Rowan cruised to a 12-2, five-inning SPC victory against a rebuilding Northwest Cabarrus squad.
West rolled 9-1 at NWC last week behind Omar Bautista and completed a weather-delayed series sweep on Monday.
“We’re going through a lot of growing pains,” Northwest coach Joe Hubbard said. “Our pitchers did a decent job today, but we had five errors on the left side of the infield and we messed up a pickoff. We’re just not good enough to make mistakes against good teams and get away with it.”
West (3-1, 2-0) ended the game via the 10-run rule on Bautista’s fifth-inning single.
The Falcons got two hits each from Jeremy Simpson, Michael Pinkston and Juan Garcia. Garcia and Harrison Baucom had two RBIs apiece.
“Put the ball in play hard, and good things are going to happen,” Baucom said. “They made some mistakes, and when they did, we capitalized. We’re going to see harder throwers, but we adapted to their pitchers, made changes and scored some runs.”
For West coach Chad Parker, there was plenty to be enthusiastic about. Ball (2-0) threw effectively, as he usually does, and West got a hit from every spot, 1 through 9, on Parker’s lineup card.
“The weather was great, and it’s another conference win for us,” Parker said. “I can’t complain much, I do think there’s a lot of room for this team to grow and get better. From the first pitch to the last today, our approaches at the plate could’ve been better.”
Ball got started as badly as a pitcher can start. He walked Tanner Bost to open the game.
“You can’t walk the leadoff guy,” Bost said, shaking his head. “That let them score first.”
Northwest (0-4, 0-4) did take a 1-0 lead. Bost advanced to second on Eric Hamiilton’s bounceout, and he was able to score when Wyatt Taylor who had two of the Trojans’ five hits, rifled a sharp single to right-center.
“I hit a fastball that was low, but I was able to go with it,” Taylor said. “That pitcher had a really good curveball today, and he located it.”
Ball agreed with that assessment.
“The curveball was on today,” he said. “And it helped me out that we were able to put up some big innings.”
A two-out error on Garcia’s groundball allowed West to tie 1-all after one.
West took control with a four-run third. Nick Collins singled home a run, Garcia lifted a sac fly, Ball doubled one in, and Baucom walked with the bases full.
Then Northwest’s defense collapsed during West’s six-run fourth.
“We gave them six outs,” Hubbard said.
Garcia and Noah Teeter singled in runs. Baucom was way out front on a pitch, but still stroked it to right field for a run-scoring double.
Adam Barrows had a two-out RBI double for NWC in the fifth against Collins to extend the game briefly, but Bautista still ended it early with his RBI single.
“I just hope we can learn from this and get better,” Hubbard said. “We’ve gotta play with some fire. We’ve got to have some pride in what we represent.”
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