PILOT MOUNTAIN — In Wednesday’s “Beat Cancer with a Bat” softball game on Wednesday between East Surry and Surry Central, it was pitching and defense that stole the show.
The Lady Cardinals pushed one run across in the third inning and that was all they would need in a 1-0 nonconference win over the Eagles.
Prior to the game, players from both teams met in the pitcher’s circle to recognize those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
Coach Randy Marion of East Surry said Jessica Barker organized the school’s first cancer awareness softball game three years ago. This year Olivia Sheets and Laken Bowman took charge of the event — getting sponsors to help with pink game T-shirts that were worn by both teams’ players and coaches.
“All of them know someone with cancer or who has died from cancer. It’s something they can relate to,” Marion said. “It’s such a good cause. We are fortunate enough to be out here playing this game. It does make them appreciate the game a lot more.”
Coach Glenn Craddock said Surry Central has held similar cancer awareness events in the past.
“I want to thank Randy and the East Surry girls for inviting us to participate,” Craddock said.
Hits and runs were tough to come by in a tight game between county rivals.
Bowman started in the pitcher’s circle for East and Cassidy Joyner started for Surry Central. Marion said it was a bit of a chess match between the two coaches. Bowman relies heavily on the changeup while Joyner brings more velocity. In the bottom of the fifth in a 1-0 game, Craddock brought in Jessica Doby, who throws mostly off-speed pitches. In the top of the sixth, Marion countered with Emily Cummings, more of a power pitcher than Bowman.
“Surry Central is always well-coached. We have to work on making adjustments,” Marion said. “It was a good pitcher’s duel. Four threw and four threw well. There were not very many walks. We both had kind of the same strategy.”
Bowman gave up just four hits and Joyner allowed three in the game.
East got its only run in the third. Kelsey Martin drew a walk from Joyner and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She went to third on a groundout, and then Bowman helped out her own cause with a RBI groundout. Joyner got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the fourth, Ashley Craddock hit a slow roller between the pitcher and first base and just beat out the throw. Then, Joyner grounded into a fielder’s choice before Holly Mason singled. With two runners on, East got out of the inning by turning a double play.
East had a chance to add to its lead in the bottom of the fifth. Sarah Moore and Martin singled, then Sheets hit a bunt single to load the bases with two outs. But Doby got a strikeout and flyout to end the inning.
Central fell to 4-5 overall heading into a Western Piedmont Conference game at South Stokes today.
Craddock said his team is not where it needs to be, but that they are making steps to get there.
“The defense played well,” Craddock said. “I feel good about (Joyner and Doby) complementing each other. They’ve worked hard.”
The Eagles were shut out for just the second time all season. Craddock said he expects a tough test today from the Sauras, who are 5-5 but have a deceiving record. South has played a rugged nonconference schedule with losses to undefeated North Davidson and High Point Christian and 8-1 Northwest Guilford. South defeated perennial 2A softball power Forbush 5-4.
“Our bats need to come around,” Craddock said. “We are hitting it, but right at people. Our time is coming. I am very proud of them. If they keep working hard, things are going to go our way.”
East (7-3) is off until Friday when it travels to Walkertown (4-4) for a Northwest 1A matchup.