PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry pulled away from Bishop McGuinness late to win 11-2 and advance to the second round of the state 1A playoffs.
The Cardinals improved to 25-0, one win shy of the school record of 26 set in 2007 when the team reached the state finals.
Starmount upset North Stanly 8-6 and will travel to Pilot on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.
East Surry scored a run in the first, then added five in the third. Then the Cards tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take away any Villain hope of a comeback.
Scott Meredith didn’t allow a run through five innings to earn the win. Seth Brim pitched two innings in relief.
On most teams, Seth would be a regular starter, but he gives East good depth behind Scott and Tyler Marion, said head coach Barry Hall. And if the team makes the regional level, Seth might be needed as a third starter.
In this game, Bishop reached second in the top of the first with a one-out double. Then Meredith struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
In the bottom half, Logan Sheets singled to center, and Weston Payne was hit by a pitch. After a double steal, Tyler Marion hit a sacrifice fly to score Sheets.
Meredith went 1-2-3 over the next two innings. In the bottom of the third, the Cards scored all five runs with two outs.
Alec Wilson and Madison Chilton each singled to left. Brim doubled to center to score them both.
Cody Ashburn grounded deep into the hole at short and beat out the play at first. Meredith then hit a slow roller to short and beat out the play, too, as Brim scored from third.
Meredith stole second, and both Ashburn and Meredith scored on a single to right by Lucas Koons.
Josh Claus is a good pitcher, but the team finally started hitting the ball, said Hall.
“Gator hit the ball hard all night,” Hall said of Wilson. “Madison Chilton is on a tear right now.”
In the fourth inning, Wilson singled to left, and Chilton hit a towering fly to the warning track in left-center.
In the sixth inning, an infield error and a single put two Bishop runners aboard for cleanup hitter Nick Castellano.
Castellano hit a double to right-center to score two runs to make it 6-2.
However, the Cards would answer with five runs in the bottom half, and Brim would pitch a scoreless seventh to finish the game.
The Cards have lost in second round several times over the years, so Hall says he is not overlooking Starmount.
Still, he can’t help but like how things are playing out in the brackets. Not only did Starmount upset North Stanly, but Elkin knocked off the two-time defending state champions, South Stanly, 10-0.
After the game, Hall said he got a phone call from South Stanly coach Terry Tucker.
Tucker, who has won three state titles in the past five seasons, said if he couldn’t win it all this year, then he was pulling for Barry to get his title.
East Surry beat Starmount twice during the regular season: 10-1 and 8-3 in a doubleheader on March 15.