PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry’s Drew Wilson hit a solo homer and pitched into the sixth inning as the Cardinals beat North Surry 5-1 in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament.
Wilson went 5 2/3 innings before Scott Meredith came on to get a ground out with the bases full.
For the first three innings, the two pitchers were in control.
Wilson racked up strikeouts, while North’s Nick Wilson gave up only one run on the homer down the right-field line.
After that, the pitchers couldn’t keep the momentum going.
In the top of the fourth, Drew Wilson walked Logan Sawyers, then bounced a curve in the dirt.
Sawyers tried to steal second, but catcher Madison Chilton blocked the ball, picked it up and threw to Weston Payne for the out.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cody Ashburn led off with a single to left. Payne sacrificed Ashburn to second, then the runner scored off a single to center by Logan Sheets with two outs.
Jeremy Gilley, who hit a warning-track shot in the third inning, ripped a double to left-center to score Sheets all the way from first for a 3-0 lead.
North got its leadoff man in scoring position in the fifth. Dustin Johnson walked and stole second. Drew Wilson then struck out the bottom third of the order to escape.
In the sixth, North finally broke through.
David Shaeffer battled back from 0-2 to a full count before hitting a ball through the left side.
Drew Wilson started to throw home, saw Shaeffer taking off for second and paused. A balk ruling gave second base to the runner.
A wild pitch then moved Shaeffer to third, where he scored on a chopper up the middle by Payden Simmons.
The infielder caught the ball, but couldn’t get the fleet-footed Simmons at first.
Simmons tried to steal second, but Wilson had gone to first with a pickoff attempt. Seth Brim relayed to second for the tag out.
One out later, Logan Sawyers singled to center and Tyler Clement singled to left, dropping the ball just inside the foul line.
Coach Barry Hall then pulled Wilson for Scott Meredith.
After a walk to Johnson loaded the bases, Nolan Stanley grounded to Brim at first.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cards scored twice to build some insurance.
Payne led off with a single. Meredith dropped a sacrifice bunt, but the hurried throw pulled the fielder off first base.
Sheets sacrificed both runners over.
With the infield drawn in, Gilley hit a grounder to third. Sawyers grabbed the ball and caught Payne in a rundown for the second out.
With runners on the corners, North intentionally walked Drew Wilson for the second time. Alec Wilson followed with a two-run single.
In the seventh, Meredith struck out two batters, then got Shaeffer on a pop up.
“Overall we played a good game,” said Hall. “We didn’t make any errors in the field.”
“Drew wasn’t as sharp as usual,” he said. He had 12 strikeouts, but gave up five walks.
The Card offense was hitting up and down the lineup, he said, with every starter logging at least one hit.
Nick Wilson threw well for North Surry, the coach said. East Surry got some hits off of the pitcher the last time these teams met, but Wilson kept the Cards off-balance most of the night.
With Surry Central beating Bishop 7-4, the Cards and Eagles will face off Thursday at South Stokes in the semifinals.
The local teams play the first game at 4:30 p.m., followed by South Stokes and West Stokes at 7 p.m.
Because South Stokes’ prom is this weekend, the conference final will not be played until Monday night. At that time, the league will announce the all-conference team and the player and coach of the year awards.