The Lady Hounds fought back from a 4-0 deficit and seemed to have momentum, but then the Devils snatched that hope away.
Back-to-back big innings allowed Maiden to upset North Surry 13-3 in the first round of the state 2A softball playoffs.
After an April 12 loss, the Hounds’ record had dropped to 4-9. After that, North went on a tear, winning eight of 10 and the Western Piedmont Conference Tournament.
Maiden had a better record at 12-7, but hadn’t been on the same hot streak coming in and had to go on the road.
However, a quick glance at the Devils’ schedule shows a team capable of putting runs on the board. In 20 games this season, the Devils have scored 193 runs, an average of 9.65 runs per game.
Some solid ball striking and some near misses for the Hounds allowed Maiden to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
A walk and a sacrifice bunt put a runner in scoring position. A pitch just got by the catcher to allow LaShayla Thompson to move to third.
Addyson Ikard hit a bouncer to short. The relay home was a bang-bang tag, but the runner was safe for the first run.
A wild pitch moved the runner to second. Then a long fly ball into the gap in right was almost pulled in by right fielder Whitney Hall on the dead run. The ball tipped off the edge of the glove, and Emma Lay had an RBI double to make it 2-0.
A groundout to short moved Lay to third with two outs. A line drive to left could have ended the inning, but the ball bounced off the fielder’s heel for run-scoring error. That made it 3-0.
In the top of the second, Maiden added another score.
After a one-out error put a runner on second base, a bouncer on the right side sent second baseman Callie Younger into a dive, but the ball just skipped past for an RBI single. The runner tried to take second on the throw home, but catcher Cidney Fulk gunned her down at the bag.
Cora Stanley led off the bottom of the second with a solo homer to left. Then Carly Marion hit a one-out single to center. Even though the Hounds didn’t score again, the ice had been broken.
Fulk hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the third, but couldn’t come around to score.
Then in the fourth, the Hounds pushed two across.
Stanley led off again and was hit by a pitch. Then Madison Bowman drew a walk. Marion and Hall made back-to-back sacrifice bunts that moved Stanley around to score.
With two outs, Emma Martin hit a roller into the hole on the right side. The second baseman knocked the ball down, then picked it up to make the throw. The hustling Martin beat the play at first to let Bowman score from third.
The home crowd was getting into the game by this point, but then two more near-misses on defense let Maiden get a rally started.
A sinker to right had Hall charging hard, but she couldn’t quite get her glove under the ball for a single. Then a bouncer up the middle was almost caught by the shortstop for a potential double-play ball. Instead, after a walk, the bases were loaded.
On a two-strike pitch, Caitlyn Wray blasted a shot to center field that bounced off the scoreboard for a grand slam, giving Maiden an 8-3 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Maiden got the leadoff hitter aboard, then an error put runners at second and third. A walk loaded the bases.
North stopped one run by throwing home on a grounder to short for a force out.
However, Drew Beamer pitched too far inside on the next batter and struck Easton Finger in the gut to force in a run. A walk added another score while leaving the bases juiced.
Taylor Beard hit a two-run single to right to make it 12-3, then Jaiden Kiser fisted an inside pitch over third base for an RBI single to finish the scoring.
When North failed to score in the bottom half, the game ended on the 10-run rule.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.