The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

July 2, 2014

Stanly County finishes regular season in second place, earns home field advantage for playoffs

Sunday, June 29, 2014 — The final week of the regular season for the senior baseball team representing Stanly County American Legion Post 76 brought with it the most important week of the season.

After 14 non-conference matchups, Stanly has played nothing but Southeast Conference games since June 12 and a stretch of six conference games in eight days.

Post 76 wrapped up the regular season with two games against the team that Stanly eliminated last season from the playoffs, Southern Rowan.

Stanly County needed to sweep the games Thursday and Friday versus Southern Rowan in order to secure home field advantage in the opening round of the Area  III playoffs.

Games in the opening best-of-five round will have the higher seed host Games One, Three and Five, with the lower seed at home for Games Two and Four.

Stanly County 3

Southern Rowan 1

Coming into Thursday’s regular-season home finale, Post 76 had 118 runs this season, for an average of 5.6 runs per game, while allowing 169 runs in 21 games (8.1 runs per game).

Old-fashioned pitchers’ duels have been the exception rather than the rule this season, but the pitching staffs for Stanly and Southern Rowan kept the offenses at bay Thursday.

One swing of the bat by pinch hitter Vance Deese lifted Stanly County to a 3-1 home win over Southern Rowan, which set up Friday’s game for home-field advantage in the first round of the Area III playoffs.

Bryan Blanton produced a solid night on the mound for Stanly County (9-13, 4-3), allowing no earned runs on four hits with 11 strikeouts.

John Daugherty took the loss for Southern Rowan (3-3, 6-10).

The visitors jumped out to a one-run lead in the first on a throwing error when a pickoff attempt sailed wide with two outs.

Stanly’s defense kept the game scoreless in the middle innings, turning double plays in the third and fourth, then Blanton struck out two batters with two on and one out in the fifth.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Derek Tucker and Russ Weiker singled, then David Singletary walked to load the bases. Vance Deese came on to pinch hit and laced the first pitch he saw deep over the center fielder’s head for a two-RBI double, giving Stanly the lead.

“Coming in, (Singletary) was throwing strikes,” Deese said.

“I was looking for a first-pitch fastball right off the bat and he gave it to me.”

“Vance does what we preach,” Stanly head coach Derek Barringer said.

“He got a pitch early to hit and put a good swing on it. He has been solid all year long.”

Stanly added an unearned insurace run in the eighth, but Matt Lambert was solid on the mound in relief earning the save.

“Blanton put in a good day’s work,” Barringer said.

SR    100    000    000  1  5      3

SC    000    002    01x  3 10 3    

WP – Bryan Blanton (7.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 hits, 4 BB, 11 K)

LP – John Daugherty (7 IP, 2 ER, 8 hits, 2 BB, 5 K)

S – Matt Lambert (1.1 IP, 0 R, 1 hit, 0 BB, 1 K)

Leading Hitters: SC – Ben Gragg 2-4; Dylan Carpenter 1-3; Chandler Corriher 1-4; Hunter Travis 1-4. SC – Derek Tucker 3-4; Russ Weiker 2-3, 2B; Vance Deese 1-2, 2 RBI; Brian Stevens 2-4.

Five Stanly Players Named All-Stars

On Friday, five Stanly players were named to the Southern All-Star team for Area III American Legion: Zac Almond (C), Bryan Blanton (P/SS), Rusty Brown (OF), Derek Tucker (IF/DH) and Russ Weiker (P/1B).

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