Big inning lifts Bears over Elks in ALS tournament

By Jim Fuller

April 13, 2014

Mount Airy broke open a tight game with nine runs in the fifth inning and went on to defeat Elkin, 11-6, in the nightcap of a tripleheader at Wallace Shelton Stadium Saturday.

Jon Cagle went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs to help the Granite Bears break a three-game losing streak.

Mount Airy plated single runs in the second and third with a little help. Clay Welch scored in the second after walking and moving along on a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch. He then scored on a balk.

Kenny Overfelt scored in the second when he reached on an error and then scored on Cagle’s RBI single.

The nine-run fifth came courtesy of six hits, a walk, a hit batsman, and two more walks. David Sparger’s two-run double highlighted the inning. Wes Bumgardner had a two-run single in the inning.

“Story of our life this season,” Elkin Coach Steve Martin said. “One bad inning.”

Daniel Brinegar hit two home runs for Elkin, while teammate Drew Shinkle added another. The six runs the Buckin’ Elks put up was a season high.

Despite the win, Mount Airy Coach Jon Cawley said his team is “not on top of our game. I didn’t like the way we pitched the ball today. The effort was there, but we need to command the ball into the zone better than we did.

“Offensively, we were out in front. Some of the hits we got, we were out in front.”

Cawley said he needs his team to “approach the game like they approach practice. And to approach practice like they approach the game. There is no difference.”

There may have three games played Saturday, but there was no mistaking the occasion was about much more than baseball.

Starmount, Walkertown, East Wilkes, East Surry, Elkin and Mount Airy came together to raise money and awareness for the ALS Foundation on a day to honor former commissioner Craig Hunter, who died Jan. 13.

“We have been overwhelmed by community support,” Hunter’s widow, Michele Hunter, said between games. “There aren’t any words that describe how it makes me feel.

“I just want to think everybody who’s involved. It’s about more than just baseball.”

T.J. Payne and Andrew Gibbons threw out ceremonial first pitches in honor of Hunter. Payne is a longtime friend, business partner and golfing buddy, he said. Gibbons went to high school with Hunter, playing football with him and graduating with him 1983.

Payne and Gibbons were two of many of the “Friday Fellowship Guys” — a group whose purpose was to encourage Hunter through his battle with ALS.

“We went to see him to encourage him,” Payne said. “And we got encouraged more by him.”

Mount Airy athletic director Donald Price said more than $1,900 was raised Saturday. He said a check will be written to the local ALS Foundation.

E 012 001 2 — 6 6 4

MA 011 090 — 11 10 2

E: Tanner Edwards, Walker Longworth (2), Daniel Brinegar (5), Bubba Bradley (6) and Aaron Sturdivant. MA: Logan Holder, Mitchell Brown (3), Holder (7) and Jon Cagle. 2B: Corbin Welch (MA), Clay Welch (MA), David Sparger (MA), Cagle, Drew Shinkle (E), Bradley. HR: Brinegar 2, Shinkle.