DOBSON — Surry Central’s Claire Via made her season debut inside the pitcher’s circle on Saturday, and the sophomore righty may have earned another look with her performance against Elkin.
Via was thrown into the fire because of an injury to the Lady Eagles’ normal pitcher, Ema Coe, but Via turned in a gem as Surry Central (7-5) earned a 6-1 victory over the Lady Elks (6-3).
“(Via) may have just found herself a new home occasionally,” Surry Central coach Whitney Joyner said. “One thing I’ll say about Claire, she’s a boss player. Doesn’t matter where you put her, she will go out there and do her dang best.”
Via’s final line was seven innings, four strikeouts, one earned run and seven hits allowed on Saturday. She doesn’t possess overpowering velocity, but her control and ability to change speeds kept the Elkin bats out in front and off balance.
She received plenty of help from the Surry Central offense, as the Lady Eagles scored two runs in the bottom of the first to seize an early lead and kept building from there.
Timely base hits proved to be the difference, as Surry Central scored all six of its runs with two outs, while Elkin left seven runners on base and consistently ran itself out of innings with mistakes on the basepaths.
“I feel like we did our jobs today at the plate,” Joyner said. “We took our time in the box and waited for our pitch. For the most part, we hit the ball hard. A couple of pop-ups, but otherwise we hit a lot of line drives.”
Hope Hinson was the star of Surry Central’s lineup on Saturday, going 3-4 with a pair of runs. After Hailey Robertson walked in the bottom of the first, Hinson roped a double down the left-field line to get the Eagles’ first rally under way. With two outs, Savannah Atkins cashed in on her RBI opportunity with a double into the left-center field gap, scoring both Hinson and Robertson for a 2-0 lead.
Hinson once again got things going for Surry Central in the bottom of the third with a leadoff single before eventually coming around to score on a backside single by Madison Robertson. The Lady Eagles led 3-0 after three innings.
Surry Central also rode Hinson’s defensive performance on Saturday. The junior third baseman made a handful of clutch plays to keep Elkin off the scoreboard. Her quick instincts led to a pair of fielder’s choice outs that kept Elkin baserunners out of scoring position.
“Hope’s probably the best third baseman in our conference. She isn’t afraid of anything. She’s a wall when people hit it to her, and she’s always hustling to get to any play she can,” Joyner said.
The Lady Eagles doubled their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Via, Madison Robertson and Allie Hammond all came around to score with two outs. Hammond and Hailey Robertson recorded RBI singles in the inning.
Surry Central continues to show its growth from last season, a campaign in which the Lady Eagles only recorded five wins. With seven victories already on the ledger in 2016, Surry Central now shifts its focus to the conference opener on Friday against South Stokes.
“Today was a great way to go into Spring Break,” Joyner said. “We’re really happy with how we played.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16