DANBURY — North Stokes hosted the Northwest 1A Conference Tournament, and as predicted, the number one seeded East Surry Cardinals faced off against the number two seed in the Vikings in Friday’s championship game.
The third meeting between two of the top four teams in the state had the same outcome as the first two, with the Cardinals beating the Vikings 10-0 in five innings.
“I’m super proud of these girls,” stated Cardinal coach Randy Marion. “We came out with a lot of energy and jumped on them early. This group of girls has been fun to coach. Everyone kept saying ‘you’re going to be good next year because of the youth,’ but I told the girls we don’t have to wait until next year, we can do it this year.”
After Autumn Lawson issued a leadoff walk to Viking Carley Gravely in the top of the first, she struck out two of the next three batters to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning it was Lawson’s three-run homer with one out that put the Cardinals on the board with an early 3-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Cardinals plated more four runs in the bottom of the third. Morgan Smith hit a one-out single to right field and then went to second on Grace Kiser’s hit. Lawson hit a hard line drive back to Allie Boles, the Vikings’ starting pitcher, which bounced off of her stomach. Everyone was safe, but Boles had to exit the game. Sophomore Brianna Lester entered the game to pitch, and issued a walk that forced in another run. After a fielder’s choice scored another run, Maggie Holt hit a double to right-center field, plating two more runs and a 7-0 lead for the Lady Cards after three innings.
The Cardinals added an unearned run in the fourth inning and then closed the game out in the bottom of the fifth, when Holt reached base on an error with two outs and then advanced to third base on a stolen base and passed ball. Kelsey Heflin then walked and stole second herself, setting the stage for Anna-Kate Badgett’s single that scored runners to end the game.
“They are a really good team,” said Vikings coach Jeff Frye. “Give them credit; they hit the ball well tonight. We have been really blessed and now we are looking forward to the state playoffs next week.”
The Cardinals also won the regular season championship and improved their record to 22-3 on the year. The Vikings dropped to 18-4 with three of their losses to the Cardinals.
After the game, the Northwest All-Tournament team was announced. Making the team were Anna Robichard (Bishop McGuinness), Katie Foress (Walkertown), Gravely, Lora Wood, Chandley Garner (North Stokes), Kiser, Holt, and Morgan Smith (East Surry). Lawson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
The league also recognized all players making all-conference and honorable mention. The all-conference team included: Lauren Bowman (Atkins), Robichard (Bishop), Lawson, Kiser, Bethany Clayton, Heflin, Allie Bruner, Badgett, Holt, Smith, Sarah Marion (East Surry), Kayla Hicks and Kinley Tate (Mount Airy), Garner, Emma Petree, Gravley, Wood, Boles, Emily Evans, Reid Hawkins (North Stokes), Foress and Brenna Butcher (Walkertown). Honorable mentions included: Shay Richardson and Kaitlyn Davis (Atkins), Gabby Anglolino and Marie Lawson (Bishop), Kristin Hicks (East Surry), Kenzie Hodges and Dakota Hensley (Mount Airy), Sierra Hubbard and Kelsey Hawkins (North Stokes), and Amelia Ohinimus and Autimn Nicholson (Walkertown).
Lawson of East Surry and Garner of North Stokes were named the co-conference players of the year, while Marion was announced as the Coach of the Year.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.