PILOT MOUNTAIN — Mount Airy jumped out to a 6-1 lead and held on for a 7-5 baseball win Saturday over East Surry.
After dropping two nonconference games, the Bears are 2-0 in the Northwest Conference. East Surry dropped its first game and is 2-1 overall, 1-1 in the conference.
The Cardinals hurt themselves with five errors. Pitcher Drew Wilson struck out 11 and only walked one, but because of the errors, four of the seven runs were unearned.
The team has to do a better job on defense and not give up easy chances, said East Coach Barry Hall.
“The better team won,” Hall said. “They absolutely outplayed us.”
“Any time you can beat East Surry’s baseball program, you should feel really good about it,” said Bear Coach Jon Cawley. “They win a lot more than they lose.”
The Bears scored once in the first, twice in the third and three times in the fourth inning to build a big lead.
“We’re trying to get to the point where we are mentally tough enough to compete in every game, and we break that down to every pitch,” said Cawley. “I see progress in that.”
As for the offense, Cawley said, “We hit some balls really hard tonight. That’s really encouraging. We went against one of the best, if not the best pitcher in the conference, and we hit him hard a few times.”
The Bears ran the bases well and played solid defense, he added.
Junior Jon Cagle started for the Bears. He struck out seven, but walked three. He allowed six hits in going the distance.
The Bears struck in the top of the first without a base hit.
Austin Taylor hit a grounder to short and went all the way to second on a throwing error.
Taylor stole third and scored on groundout by Kenny Overfelt.
In the third inning, the Bears had two outs when they scored twice.
Overfelt singled and scored on a double by Sam Harris. Then Logan Young singled in the catcher’s courtesy runner for a 3-0 lead.
The Cards came back in the bottom half of the inning to score once.
Logan Sheets doubled, and the pitcher Wilson helped his own cause with an RBI single.
Mount Airy came right back in the top of the fourth.
Cagle hit a leadoff single. Caleb Horton hit into a potential double play, but the relay throw was wide of first base, letting Horton reach second.
David Sparger then hit a sharp grounder to third. Cody Ashburn made a good play to knock the ball down, but in his haste to make the throw, he was off-target as well. That allowed Horton to score and put Sparger on second.
Garrett VanHoy hit a double to drive in a run.
With two outs, VanHoy was going on the swing when Overfelt hit a slow roller toward second.
Sheets tried to make a running pickup of the ball, but couldn’t field it cleanly. VanHoy made it all the way home for a 6-1 lead.
Cawley made sure his team didn’t relax.
“They are a good-hitting team,” Cawley said of the Cards. “We knew that at any moment they could break loose for a half-dozen runs on us.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Madison Chilton beat out a double play, then advanced to second on a passed ball.
Blake Marion singled to bring in Chilton for a 6-2 score.
After Lucas Koons walked, Marion advanced to third on a passed ball, then made it home on the third passed ball. Koons was stranded on second.
Down three, the Cards would cut it closer in the sixth.
Alec Wilson and Ashburn singled to put two aboard with one out.
Marion hit a bouncer to third. Sparger didn’t have time to get the lead runner and took the safe play at first for the second out.
Then Koons doubled to leftcenter to bring in Wilson and Ashburn for a 6-5 score. The tying run was in scoring position, but like the fourth inning, Koons was stranded on second.
In the seventh, the Bears got an insurance run when Overfelt singled and stole second. Harris singled him home for the 7-5 lead.
Harris was 2-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Young was 3-4 with an RBI and Cagle went 2-3.
“We had some chances to get back in the game, but Cagle kept us offbalance,” said Hall. “And their defense was good.”
On Tuesday, East Surry goes to West Stokes, while Mount Airy travels to rival North Surry.
After such a big win on the road, Cawley said he cautioned his squad about complacency.
“I told the team, ‘Coach Hall has 655 wins and I’ve got 14.’ … There’s no reason to be complacent.”
MA 1 0 2 3 0 0 1 | 7 9 1
ES 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 | 5 6 5