PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry’s Kain Kiser and company shut out the visiting Smoky Mountain 1A Conference’s Blue Ridge Early College on Wednesday night in a 15-0 rout that opened the state playoffs.
The game was called off due to the mercy rule after just four and a half innings of play, as the top-seeded Cardinals moved on to the second round.
On the mound for the Cardinals, Kiser allowed just one hit in the visitors’ first at-bats, along with striking out one and leaving one on base. He was perfect over the next two innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Although little action was shown by the Bobcats in the first inning, it was quite the opposite when the Cardinals stepped up to the dish.
East Surry went up and down its lineup in the bottom of the first inning and logged seven runs off of four Bobcat errors. John Marion was the first Cardinal to cross home, after Kiser’s line drive to third base earned him an RBI. Tyler Chilton stepped into the box and saw runners on the corners and singled, guiding A.J. Wilson home. Nick Shofffner made it back-to-back East Surry singles and loaded the bases for Trevor Hauser. Hauser was the first runner of the game to be hit by a pitch, and he drove another East Surry run. Colby Guy’s first at bat saw the bases still loaded, and with a 2-1 count, he chopped one through the infield and drove in two more runs.
The Cardinals were up 5-0 as the second out was collected, but they would register another two runs before their inning was complete. Luke Horton’s at bat scored Guy. He would later cross home himself during Marion’s second at-bat of the first inning, as it was just as fruitful as his first. Marion drove a pitch out to right-center field for a double that scored Horton and completed the inning with a 7-0 East Surry lead.
After Kiser handcuffed the Bobcats in the second inning, the Cardinals strengthened their already comfortable lead by tacking on an additional four runs. Wilson, the leadoff man in the bottom of the second for the Cardinals, singled to right field. Kiser sent his first pitch to the center field fence and drove him in. Shoffner’s base hit placed Cardinals on the corners for Hauser, who would then drive in Eli Bullington, pinch running for Kiser, for the ninth run of the night. Guy’s sacrifice fly lifted the Cardinals into double-digits with only one out accounted for. The 11th of the game was driven in by Horton, as East Surry scored four times off of five hits and left one on base.
Kiser’s command on the mound continued on into the third inning, as he again did not allow a Bobcat to reach and struck out two of the three batters he faced. When it was the Cardinals turn, Garret Willoughby singled up the middle. East Surry added one run in the third, which resulted from a single to left field from Chilton, to drive in Willoughby’s pinch runner, Chase Hewitt.
Cameron Whitaker relieved Kiser on the mount to open up the fourth inning of play and only allowed one Bobcat to collect a base, but still held the visitor’s scoreless for the fourth consecutive inning. The Cardinals totaled three runs in the fourth to propel themselves to a 15-0 lead going into the fifth. Hewitt was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and brought in Hauser. The second of the four runs came from Hunter Blose’s single with two runners on base. Jefferson Boaz was able to stamp the final run of the game with his line drive to left on a 1-2 count that plated Seth Keener. The Cardinals were able to add three runs from four hits, while also leaving three on base.
Competition only needed to see one more half-inning of play before being ceased due to being up by 10 or more runs. The top of the fifth saw an initial ground out, and Whitaker struck out the final two to call it a game.
Blue Ridge Early College fell to 6-12 overall, while East Surry improved to a 20-4 overall mark, along with a second round date with Pine Lake Prep (15-6) at Barry Hall Field, likely on Saturday evening. Pine Lake, of the Southern Piedmont 1A, beat Mount Airy 3-2 in a first-round game on Wednesday evening.