Jon Cagle pitched Mount Airy to a 7-1 win over North Stokes on Senior Night.
After a pitch-heavy first inning, Cagle settled down and began putting together a good strikeout total. He allowed just one hit and one unearned run while striking out 13 batters in going the distance.
In the meantime, Cagle and Wes Bumgarner put a bruising on the baseball as the Granite Bears built a lead.
Bumgarner especially put on a good display at the plate. In the first inning, he hit a hard grounder that was mishandled at short. Bumgarner beat out the play at first, giving Cagle time to score after his single and stolen base put him in scoring position.
In the third, Cagle hit a seeing-eye bouncer through the left side as both the third baseman and shortstop dove for the ball.
After a second stolen base, Cagle scored when his catcher hammered a liner to the outfield for another RBI.
In the fifth Bumgarner ripped a double down the left-field line and came around when David Sparger hit a swinging bunt and drew a throwing error to first.
Because it was Senior Night, Coach Jon Cawley changed his lineup to let in a couple of senior reserves.
In the second inning, senior John Bowman walked and stole second. One of those reserves, senior Christian McHone, rolled a grounder to the right side to move Bowman to third.
Mitchell Brown then hit a ball deep into the hole at short and beat out the play to let Bowman in.
The Bears were aggressive on the basepaths all night, with mostly great success. They scored off a squeeze play and got a double off pulling a fielder out of position.
In the third after Bumgarner drove in Cagle, the catcher’s courtesy runner took off on a hit-and-run play. Sparger hit a liner exactly to where the second baseman would have been if he hadn’t taken off to cover second. Sparger beat out the play at second base for a double.
Then came the squeeze play as Bowman pushed a bunt past the pitcher and third baseman toward short and beat out the play as the courtesy runner scored for a 4-0 lead.
There were plenty of distractions before the game that had the Mount Airy coaches concerned their team wouldn’t be mentally ready like Senior Night activities, the national anthem and throwing out the first pitch.
In the first inning, Cagle threw 23 pitches as North Stokes got two runners aboard. But Cagle struck out the next batter to escape the jam.
The Vikings only run came in the sixth when a runner reached and Cagle balked him to second. Then Cagle’s pickoff attempt went into center. The throw to third was wide left and went into the Bears’ dugout to allow the runner to score.
The Bears answered with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning, and Cagle closed out the game in the top of the seventh.
The Bears hadn’t played in a week and were a little rusty, said Cawley, but the effort was there.
As for his catcher, Cawley said Wes hit the ball very well. He also thought Bumgarner had his best defensive game of this season. He was good at blocking balls in the dirt and threw out the only runner that tried to steal on him, he noted.
Mount Airy has won six straight games to improve to 12-7 and will host the Northwest Conference Tournament this year.