PILOT MOUNTAIN — The East Surry baseball team needed a win in the worst of ways on Wednesday.
The Cardinals entered their home matchup with Starmount on a three-game losing streak and coming off a tough 1-0 defeat to North Surry on Tuesday. However, East Surry (2-3) played its best game of the season and ended the skid with a 7-3 victory over the Rams.
“Gradually you can see us starting to get better,” East Surry coach Chad Freeman said. “Still plenty that we need to work on, but we’ll take a win whenever we can get it, and I was pleased with our guys’ focus tonight.”
The Cardinals got things going right away with two runs in the bottom of the first. A patient approach at the plate led to four walks in the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Wyatt Guy earned a base on balls for the first run and Alex Eubanks provided an RBI with a groundout to the second baseman.
“The biggest thing tonight was we forced the pitcher to throw strikes, whether it was with the fastball or the curve,” Freeman said. “We were patient at the plate, trying to get something we could handle, and we took advantage.”
East Surry added to its lead in each of the next two innings. In the bottom of the second, Corbin Kiser led things off with a smoked grounder that the Starmount third baseman couldn’t handle. Kiser eventually crossed home plate when Tyler Smith drove him in with a two-strike RBI groundout.
The Cardinals led 3-1 entering the bottom of the third, but the East Surry bats refused to rest on their laurels. Blake Marion led the inning off with a walk and AJ Wilson singled. Both runners moved up a base on a balk by Starmount’s pitcher.
The free bases weren’t needed, though, as Guy was next up and sent the first pitch he saw well beyond the wall in right field for a three-run homer. Another run came into score later in the inning and the Cardinals had their biggest lead of the young season at 7-1 after the third.
“I didn’t think I got it all,” Guy said. “I thought it was just a long out.”
Guy’s mammoth shot proved to be the decisive blow as Kain Kiser earned his first varsity win on the mound. The sophomore logged five innings and struck out six Starmount batters.
Kain has been a pleasant surprise for Coach Freeman and the Cardinals this season. He started the year on the junior varsity team before getting promoted last weekend. Despite a loss against Surry Central on Saturday, Kain pitched well and carried the momentum from that positive start to his career into Wednesday.
“He’s put in the time. He worked really hard in the offseason,” Freeman said. “We had a need to get somebody up (to varsity) throwing strikes for us, and he’s done it.”
Wilson was East Surry’s leading hitter on Wednesday, going 2-3. Marion was the only Cardinal to cross home plate multiple times with two runs scored.
East Surry will look for revenge on Friday with a home game against Surry Central. The Cardinals lost to the Golden Eagles 2-1 on Saturday.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16