PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry blasted North Stokes for eight runs in the first inning in winning its home opener Thursday.
The Cardinals opened the season with an 11-8 win at Starmount last week, then showed more offensive firepower in this game as the first eight men reached base safely.
The Cards piled on 12 runs through five innings to invoke the 10-run mercy rule and end the night early.
Centerfielder Jeremy Gilley led off the game with a single. He reached base all three times at-bat before coming out for a sub.
Shortstop Logan Sheets squared to bunt, but Gilley stole second. Sheets then worked a walk.
First baseman Drew Wilson crushed a double to center to score both runners for a 2-0 lead.
Catcher Cameron Sheets hit a sharp grounder to short that went through the player’s legs for a run-scoring error.
Rightfielder Alec Wilson hit a grounder into the hole on the left side and beat on the throw. That put runners at first and second with no outs.
Second baseman Weston Payne and leftfielder Madison Chilton drew walks to bring in Cameron’s courtesy runner.
Pitcher Cody Ashburn hit a fly ball to rightcenter. The runners had to hold to make sure it would drop.
Alec Wilson scored easily, but Payne had to take an outside slide to avoid the tag at home in a bang-bang play.
That made it 6-0.
After a popup, Gilley hit a grounder to short and beat out the double-play relay to first. That put runners on the corners with two outs.
Logan Sheets walked to load the bases for Drew Wilson, who lofted a fly ball to leftcenter that fell in for a two-run single.
In the second inning, the Cards pushed two more runs across.
Payne hit a soft shot toward short. His hustle down the line caused the fielder to hurry and throw wide of first. Payne took second on the error.
Ashburn moved Payne to third with a groundout.
Freshman Blake Marion hit a long fly ball to right. The fielder moved under the ball, but the wind carried the ball back and toward the line, allowing it to drop in for an RBI double.
Gilley then followed with an RBI single to center to score Marion for a 10-0 lead.
The Cards added another run in both the third and fourth innings.
Meanwhile, Ashburn was coasting, despite the frigid temperature.
He went all five innings and allowed just one hit and no runs. He walked one batter and hit another, but struck out 11.
The freshman Marion turned in the defensive gem of the night.
North Stokes hit a sharp grounder into the hole. Playing third, Marion dove to his left and knocked the ball down. He grabbed the ball as he hopped to his feet, then threw to Drew Wilson at first for the out.
The Cards finished with 11 hits and allowed just one error. North Stokes finished with four errors.
The first conference game was scheduled for today, but the team wanted to move up the date so that it wouldn’t conflict with the basketball team.
Three players have yet to join the baseball squad because they are still in the basketball playoffs.
Scott Meredith, Seth Brim and Devin Benton will be playing against Hendersonville at 7 p.m. in the West Regional at UNC-Greensboro. If they win tonight, the Cards would play in the 1A state championship game Saturday at 1:30 p.m.