North Surry ranked first in MaxPreps ranking

By Jeff Linville

April 14, 2014

A local team is dominating on the diamond. The squad has won every game this season and is ranked first in its class across the state.

East Surry’s baseball team? Yes, that is true, but it also applies to North Surry’s softball team.

The Lady Greyhounds are 11-0 and have risen to first place in the 2A rankings on MaxPreps.

East Rutherford (13-2) is second, Northeastern (9-1) third, Brevard (10-1) fourth and South Granville (7-1) fifth.

Among area teams, Forbush is 10th with its 10-2 record, South Stokes (8-6, but a tough schedule) is 14th, and West Wilkes (8-4) is 20th.

The Lady Sauras have played the toughest schedule of any team in the top 25, with matchups against schools like Northwest Guilford, High Point Christian Academy and North Davidson — not to mention tough local games like North Surry, Forbush, West Wilkes and North Stokes.

Since Willie Hodges took over the coaching job, the Hounds have been a different team.

North was in the midst of a losing streak when he took over two years ago.

Soon after, the team went on a seven-game winning streak. Last year, North put together a 15-7 mark, including a playoff win.

That squad featured several seniors who drew the attention of college scouts including Molly Martin, Hannah Goins and Allison Woodbury.

Yes, the team lost some valuable seniors, but it also had several good players coming back, noted Hodges. It means a lot to have a senior battery, he said, referring to pitchers Marlee Bunker and Hayley Tickle and catcher Katlyn Hodges.

When Marlee is on the mound, Hayley plays first base and has been a key hitter this season, the coach said.

The Hounds also have all-conference player Bailey Culler, who has already signed with Tusculum College.

As a freshman, Bailey played third base, the coach said. Then she played second base the past two years with Molly and Hannah on the left side. Now she has taken over the shortstop position and given the team a great glove and bat.

“Bailey brings a lot to the team,” he said.

Last fall, volleyball player Taylor Hill suffered a severe ankle injury and missed much of the season. She was still hampered by the injury for part of the basketball season before coming on near the end.

Now she is back at full strength and providing a spark for the Hounds.

At one point, Taylor hit a home run in three straight games, said Hodges.

She is part of a fast outfield with Jordan Badgett in left and Aubrey Hall in right.

Jordan has been away from softball a couple of years, the coach noted. She is quick and was a starter for the basketball team. Since returning to softball, she has been very enthusiastic, like a little kid running around out there.

Maddy Tickle played third base on JV last year and stepped up to fill Hannah’s spot.

Hodges said his team hasn’t had a chance to face Forbush yet. If today’s home game with the Lady Falcons doesn’t get postponed by rain, then this would conclude the first pass through the Western Piedmont Conference schedule.