Bishop McGuinness defeated Mount Airy 19-9 in the first round of the Northwest Conference Softball Tournament Monday.
Walkertown defeated Atkins in the other first-round matchup with the winners advancing to the semifinals Wednesday.
East Surry will host both the semifinals and the final on Friday.
North Stokes will take on Bishop Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. East Surry takes on Walkertown in the night game at 7 p.m.
The winners meet Friday at 7 p.m. in Pilot Mountain.
After going winless a couple of seasons ago, the Bears won five games this season and went 4-6 in the Northwest.
In the regular season, the Bears tagged Bishop for 29 runs in two games for the season sweep.
However, the Bears seemed snakebit in the early going as the Lady Villains built a huge lead.
In the second inning, catcher Kinley Tate pointed to her right shoulder and shook her head when talking to Coach Rhett Brown.
Brown asked Tate if she thought she could play second base instead, and the freshman agreed. That caused Brown to shift several others around, including moving shortstop Amy Kunkel behind the plate.
Mount Airy already was missing pitcher Katie Hicks, who had a wrist brace on her right arm.
The Villains scored two runs in the first inning. Then pitcher Maddison Widener seemed to settle down and got the first two outs of the second inning. Ahead 2-2 in the count, Widener induced a ground ball, but an error put a runner aboard.
An outfield error, a double and a single gave the Villains a 5-0.
In the third inning, Widener took a line drive flush to the left thigh with the bases loaded. She was down for a couple of minutes before trying a few practice throws.
The sophomore Widener wanted to stay in, but the Villains added three more runs to the lead.
One more run in the top of the fourth put Bishop up 9-0.
Meanwhile, the Bears were putting the bat on the ball, but nothing was falling in. Tate slammed a long fly ball to left and a blooper to right that were both caught. Others hit line drives and grounders right to a fielder.
Finally, the Bears had some breaks go their way in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out, the Bears beat out two infield singles. Widener walked to load the bases.
One out later, Sydney Gwyn hit a swinging bunt with all runners safe to make it 9-1.
Tate then hammered a ball to left that wasn’t caught this time for a two-run double.
Kunkel hit a single up the middle to score two runs for a 9-5 score.
Bailey Wilhoit singled in Kunkel and took second on the throw home. Then Kristin George reached on an infield single.
Shelbey Taylor singled in Wilhoit to make it 9-7. Kelsey Frye grounded to second, but the force play attempt at second base was too late, and the bases were loaded for Widener.
Widener was unable to capitalize this time.
After Bishop scored five runs (helped by some Mount Airy errors), the Bears came back with a couple of runs to make it 15-9 after six innings.
However, they also left the bases loaded in the sixth as Tate popped up to the pitcher.
The Bears loaded the bases in the seventh, too, but Widener’s long fly ball to right-center was caught on the move by an outfielder to end the game.
While the final score looked lopsided, the Bears left nine runners on base in just the last three innings. A little more luck could have made a big difference in the outcome.
In Western Piedmont action, West Stokes defeated Surry Central 7-2 to advance to the second round of the tournament. The Lady Wildcats will take on Forbush, while North Surry plays South Stokes.