PILOT MOUNTAIN — A week after the East Surry Little League 9-10 All-Stars won their District 2 title and went on to finish third in the state championship, it’s the turn of the 11-12 team to go after a title of their own.
The Cardinals made a dominating run through their district tournament in late June, defeating King, Winston-Salem National and Kernersville without a defeat, and then facing King again in the championship game back on June 30. In the final game, the teams were tied 3-3 after one inning of play, and then the Cardinals scored 23 unanswered runs to end the game by the mercy rule after just four innings of play. None of the four games the team played was closer than 10 runs, as East Surry scored a total of 82 runs and allowed just nine.
Many of the current Cardinals played on a team that was an out away from winning the state title a year ago, and now East Surry is back and hoping to finish the job starting Friday at Catawba Meadows Park in Morganton.
East Surry, the District 2 champion, opens the seven-team tournament against District 5 champion Jackson County on Friday night at 7 p.m. The other teams in the tournament are host McDowell Co. (District 7), Wilson City (District 6), Greenville-North State (District 4), Coulwood-Oakdale (District 3), and Cherryville (District 1).
The tournament follows a double-elimination format, but a team that played its way through the bracket without a loss can win the title in just four games, like the Cardinals did at the district level. The host team received a bye into Saturday’s second round, but the other three teams will play on Friday. Wilson and Greenville will play at 1 p.m. for the right to face McDowell at the same time the next day. At 3 p.m. on Friday, Cherryville will face Coulwood-Oakdale, with the East Surry vs. Jackson matchup following that night.
The winners of those two games will play each other on Saturday at 3 p.m., while the losers will play that night at 7.The semifinal of the winners’ bracket will be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the championship round, which begins on July 26, and may end that day if the team that reached it without a loss wins its first game. If a second game is required, it will be played on Sunday.
The state champion advances to regional play, starting on Aug. 4 at Warner Robins, Ga.
The team is coached by Jay Boaz, Kevin Brown and Chris Clayton. Team members include Cooper Motsinger, Brady Edmonds, Daniel Creech, Luke Brown, Anthony Ayers, Luke Bowman, Matthew Keener, Jordan Davis, Will Jones, Brett Clayton, Gabriel Ferrell, Folger Boaz, Connor Key and Stephen Keener.
To follow the team as it progresses through the tournament, visit http://gc.com and search for “East Surry LL.” The team is the second one on the list that follows.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.