PILOT MOUNTAIN — The girls keep getting older, but the results remain the same.
A group of softball all-stars from the East Surry Little League has won its district for the third straight year.
The East Surry all-stars beat Rowan County for the district title in the 11-12 age group.
The core of the team (with the exception of two players) won the 10U district title last year.
Maggie Holt and Madison Upchurch weren’t with the same group last year because they were already in the 11-12 age, explained head coach Brent Jones. Current players who were also together last year include Anna Kate Badgett, Allie Bruner, Leah Hayes, Brooke Hege, Tynlee Jones, Grace Kiser, Abby Koons, Ally McCraw and Morgan Smith.
Assisting Jones are Daniel McCraw and Scott Bruner.
With Holt on the mound, the East team beat Rowan County 2-1 in the first game of the best-of-three series last week. After a rainout last Thursday, the teams played a doubleheader over the weekend. Rowan won the second game 2-1 with Holt again on the mound.
In the third game, the East bats picked up for a big 8-1 clincher with Kiser on the mound that propelled the girls into the state tournament this weekend.
East Surry is one of six teams that will play at Wilkes Central in North Wilkesboro over Saturday and Sunday in a double-elimination format. East will play Wilkes County at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of the state tournament advances to the South Regional tournament in Georgia.
Maggie and Grace pitched great against Rowan, Jones said. They only allowed four runs over three games to a great-hitting team. When the opponents did hit the ball, the defense came through as well.
Rowan is a team that has given these girls a hard time the previous two years, he noted.
East strung together some timely hits in the final game, getting five runs in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie.
Hege dropped a bunt for a key hit, he said, and Upchurch hit a ball very hard that the fielder couldn’t come up with for an error. Hege had a big RBI hit, and Badgett had a key hit in the inning as well.
Then when Rowan tried to answer with runners aboard, Tynlee Jones came up with an unassisted double play. She caught a line drive and stepped on second to double off the runner.
When the team was winning the district last year, the coach said he joked with the players about holding a midnight practice instead of playing in the July heat. While that never happened last year, Jones did hold a midnight practice this week, saying the girls thought it was a blast.