East baseball, North softball still unbeaten

By Jeremy Moorhouse

March 29, 2014

Two area teams are still undefeated and another has a huge match this week with conference title implications.

In baseball, East Surry has enjoyed a school-record 10-0 start under longtime coach Barry Hall.

The Cardinals entered last week ranked No. 1 in the Impact Baseball Class 1A poll. East has won its first two Northwest 1A games on the road — a 1-0, nine-inning victory at Mount Airy and an 11-5 triumph at Bishop McGuinness.

East has a big game Friday at Walkertown, which was ranked sixth in the 1A poll this past week. The showdown lost a little bit of luster when the previously undefeated Wolfpack were handed their first loss by Bishop McGuinness on Thursday.

“To be ranked the No. 1 team is a big honor for the kids. They’ve earned it,” Hall said last week. “We’ve played a good nonconference schedule. Mount Airy was a real big game for us. We beat Bishop at Bishop. If we can take care of next Friday at Walkertown, that should be a big plus.”

East has a handful of pitchers it can put on the mound, including ace Tyler Marion, who threw a shutout against North Surry last week.

Meanwhile, after three straight one-run losses, Mount Airy (4-4 overall, 1-1 league) has won two straight and has a tough conference game at home Monday against Bishop McGuinness (6-3 overall, 2-1 league). A victory by the Bears would move them into second in the conference standings.

In softball, the North Surry Lady Greyhounds are also unbeaten on the season. North, under coach Willie Hodges, is 7-0 overall after posting nonconference wins over perennial 1A power East Surry and 4A Davie County last week.

On Thursday, the Hounds gave up two runs to the Cardinals in the first inning but didn’t allow a run after that in a 5-2 win. Taylor Hill, a junior center fielder, hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to put North ahead for good.

On Friday, Hill hit a solo shot in the top of the seventh for the go-ahead run against Davie in a 3-2 victory. Jordan Badgett made a huge throw from left field to catcher Katlyn Hodges, who tagged out a War Eagles’ runner at the plate in the bottom of the seventh. North handed Davie just its second loss of the season.

Marlee Bunker got the win in both games to improve her record to 7-0. She shared pitching duties on Friday with Hayley Tickle.

“Those were two really good teams we beat this week,” Hodges said. “We had to play ball to beat them. So far we’ve just been playing good softball. We’ve been playing as a team and playing together. If one girl is down, the team seems to pick it up.”

North goes to West Stokes Tuesday and hosts Carver on Friday in a pair of Western Piedmont Conference games.

Mount Airy’s tennis team (12-1 overall, 5-1 Northwest 1A) has a huge match coming up Wednesday at Bishop McGuinness. The Bears’ only loss this year came to the Villains by a 6-3 score.

Both teams are ranked in the Class 1A polls — Bishop is ranked No. 2 and Mount Airy is No. 4.

Elkin, last year’s 1A state dual team champion, holds the No. 1 ranking. Since 1998, Elkin and Mount Airy have won the most 1A dual team titles. The Buckin’ Elks have won six and the Bears have captured four.

A win by the Bears on Wednesday would move Mount Airy into a tie with the Villains for the conference lead. Mount Airy, under coach Rodney Pell, has won the rest of its matches in impressive fashion.

Mitch Kessler, the Bears No. 1 seed, is undefeated this season in singles play. Kessler is one of two seniors in the lineup, along with Blake Hensley. Mount Airy has two juniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores.