PILOT MOUNTAIN — Seth Brim drove in two runs in the first inning, and the Cardinal pitchers held on for a 3-2 win in the third round of the state 1A playoffs.
For the second time in a week, and the fourth time this season, East Surry beat South Stokes.
All-conference player Jamison Nagle hit two solo homers for the Sauras, but the Cards pitched out of jams to prevent any big innings.
With the threat of rain looming, the teams moved the 7 p.m. start time up to 4 p.m. Saturday. Then a short, but heavy shower caused a rain delay of about an hour in the second inning.
By that time, the Cards already led 2-0.
After Drew Wilson pitched a scoreless first, the senior got things started with a two-out single in the bottom half.
Alec Wilson followed with a single, then Madison Chilton hit a bouncer up the middle.
The shortstop got a glove on the ball, but didn’t catch it cleanly, and everyone was safe, according to assistant coach Chad Freeman.
Brim singled to left-center to score courtesy runner Lucas Koons and Alec Wilson. However, Chilton’s courtesy runner was caught in a rundown between second and third for the final out.
In the top of the second, South’s Ross Jackson doubled to center. Then the rain shower hit.
After the delay, Drew Wilson returned to the mound, but threw just three innings total.
With Jackson back on second, Will Kiser singled to put runners on the corners with one out.
Jacob Woods hit a line drive to short that Scott Meredith was able to field, then relayed to first for a double play.
In the top of the fourth, Cody Ashburn came on in relief of Wilson.
With one out, Nagle went opposite field for a solo jack to cut the lead to one run.
Jackson doubled for the second time with one out. Kiser grounded to Blake Marion at third, and Jackson advanced to third base on the throw across the field.
After walking Woods, Ashburn struck out Charles Finney to strand two runners.
In the bottom of the fourth, East Surry loaded the bases.
Blake Marion singled, then Ashburn reached on a fielder’s choice at second base. Weston Payne doubled down the line to put runners at second and third.
One strikeout later, Logan Sheets drew a walk to load the bases for Jeremy Gilley, but Gilley popped up for the final out.
In the fifth inning, the Cards got a little breathing room as Drew Wilson led off with a deep homer to right field for a 3-1 margin.
Meredith took the mound for the sixth inning. Nagle greeted him with a homer to left.
Jackson singled to center to improve to 3-3 on the day. With a pinch runner on first, Meredith’s pickoff attempt was low and allowed Jonathan Montgomery to go all the way around to third.
Meredith then tightened down to strike out the next two batters and preserve the 3-2 lead.
In the seventh inning, Meredith struck out the side for the save. He struck out the last five batters and got all six outs via the K.
For the game, the three pitchers had 11 strikeouts to just one walk.
Wilson scattered three hits for no runs in three innings. Ashburn and Meredith each gave up just one run in two innings of work.
Drew Wilson was 2-3 with two runs and an RBI. Alec Wilson was 1-2 with a run scored. Brim 1-2 and two RBIs, and Payne 1-2 with a double.
“It sure is tough to beat a team four times in a season, especially one as good as South Stokes,” said Coach Barry Hall.
South Stokes was in this game the whole time, said Hall. The coach said credit should go to Coach Mitch Adams and his boys for their effort in this game and the second half of the season.
After some early-season losses, South Stokes won 12 of its last 15 games with all three losses against East Surry.
Of course the Cards deserve credit, too, he noted, for battling out of jams and keeping that slim lead throughout.
“Everyone is contributing up and down the lineup,” he said. “We can’t ask much more than what they’ve been giving us.”
The Cards (25-4) advance to the sectional final against South Stanly (24-4), the top team from the Yadkin Valley Conference.
South Stanly stomped Albemarle 10-0. Albemarle is the team that upset Mount Airy 4-2 earlier in the week.
The Cards have about a two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Norwood, southeast of Salisbury, for the 7 p.m. game on Tuesday.