PILOT MOUNTAIN — The East Surry softball team’s offense has been relatively quiet to start the 2016 season, but the bats finally came to life against Surry Central.
The Lady Cardinals (4-2) came into the rivalry game with 12 runs scored on the season. They nearly matched that output in just one inning on Thursday, riding a nine-run bottom of the third to an 11-1 win over the Lady Eagles (1-4). The game was officially called due to the 10-run rule when Tori Fulk drove home Serena Pickens in the fifth to enforce the 10-run rule.
“I think our offense is just getting used to hitting in the game against live pitching,” East Surry coach Randy Marion said. “We’ve started to hit the ball a little bit better, and hopefully tonight we broke through.”
East Surry leadoff hitter Bethany Clayton was the offensive catalyst. She got things started with a bunt single in the bottom of the first, quickly stole second base and then came around to score on a line-drive single by Emily Cummings.
The 1-0 lead lasted until the floodgates opened in the bottom of the third. Once again, it was Clayton who started East Surry’s offense, this time with a one-out single through the right side.
From that point forward, East Surry collected seven hits and run-scoring at-bats from Cummings, Amber Brown, Sarah Marion, Cheyenne Bingman and Haley Jennelle.
Clayton capped off the inning and her stellar night with a three-run homer well over the right field wall to give East Surry a 10-0 lead. It was her first home run of the season.
“That’s the thing I love about Bethany that fools a lot of people,” Coach Marion said. “She has power for her size. She has a quick bat and can do that, so not surprised at all by the home run.”
Coming into the evening, Clayton only had three hits on the year. Coach Marion hopes Thursday night catapults his sophomore shortstop back into her normal form.
Another encouraging performance came from inside the circle. Autumn Lawson got her second start of the year as Cummings needed a little bit of rest from throwing on consecutive days. Lawson didn’t miss a beat, throwing all five innings and only giving up three hits on the evening.
Surry Central’s three hits all came in a row during the top of the fourth. Hope Hinson, Claire Via and Haley Newman all recorded one-out singles, but a miscue on the bases cut down the Surry Central rally. The Lady Eagles got their lone run on an RBI from Newman that scored Via.
The win wraps up a 3-0 week for the Lady Cardinals. Their most impressive result came Wednesday in a 2-1 victory over Reagan, a 4-A team from Winston-Salem. Coach Marion was proud of his team’s performance all week, but in particular not letting up on Thursday.
“As soon as we got done with the Reagan game, I knew we had three games in three nights and it would be tough to keep the mental edge,” Marion said. “We had a close game against Central the last time, so we talked about not having a letdown and finishing the week strong. Now we get to get some rest before next week.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16