PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Lady Greyhounds came out swinging against East Surry and won Friday’s softball game 9-6.
North Surry scored three runs in the first and three more in the second to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
After the Lady Cardinals cut the lead to 7-6, North scored twice more for insurance.
East Coach Derrick Hill said his pitchers have to understand that they cannot fall behind in the count. That gives the batter an advantage, and North was hitting the ball hard all night.
Bailey Culler got the Hounds off to a great start with a double.
Marlee Bunker hit a single to center. Culler attempted to score, but center fielder Brooke Bowman threw a strike to home.
The ball arrived in time, but with the setting sun directly in her eyes, catcher Amber Lawson bobbled the ball, allowing Culler to score. Bunker took second on the play.
Molly Martin followed with an RBI double to left-center, scoring Bunker’s courtesy runner, Abby Martin. That made it 2-0.
After a strike out, Kacey Beamer singled to left to bring in Martin to make it 3-0.
Hannah Goins and Claire Montgomery both made good contact, too, but hit fly balls for outs.
In the bottom of the first, Bowman hit a one-out single to center. Then Emily Cummings hit a bouncer up the middle to put two runners aboard. A walk to Jessica Barker loaded the bases.
Bunker got Kristen Cummings to ground into a potential double play, but a big hop sent the ball over the glove of Culler and into right field as Bowman scored.
On the next play, Lawson hit a hard grounder to Culler, who fired a strike home to Beamer for a force out. Then Bunker caught a grounder and threw to first to get out of the inning with a 3-1 lead.
In the second inning, North’s Hayley Tickle started things with a single to left. Katlyn Hodges followed with a sacrifice bunt and nearly beat out the throw to first.
Culler hit a line drive toward short that just cleared the glove of a leaping Barker.
Tickle had to hold up to see if the ball went through, so she held up at third as the outfield threw home.
On the throw, Culler took second base.
There were too many plays like that where the Cards gave up bases, said Coach Hill.
Missing the cutoff man and letting a runner reach scoring position will cost you against a good hitting team like North Surry was Friday night, he said.
Hill made a pitching change, putting Barker on the mound.
Barker struck out Bunker and looked like she was going to strike out Martin to get out of the inning.
Martin was way out front on a changeup, but the senior kept her hands back and lofted a soft fly ball to right that scored both Tickle and Culler for a 5-1 lead.
Taylor Hill followed with a triple down the line to score Martin for a 6-1 lead.
“North Surry’s got a good team, they played well tonight,” said Hill.
“The thing I’m happy with my kids is that they keep getting better,” he said. Rather than hang their heads, the Cards came back to threaten in the second and erupt in the third.
East loaded the bases in the second, but Bunker got out of the jam.
After North added one run in the top of the third, the Hounds led 7-1.
In the bottom half, Emily Cummings reached on a single to left, then Kristen Cummings walked.
Lawson doubled down the left-field line to score Emily and move Kristen to third. Jesse Barr then lifted a fly ball to the outfield to bring in Kristen Cummings. That made it 7-3.
Laken Bowman then doubled home Lawson.
Kelsey Martin reached on a walk to put two aboard for Olivia Sheets.
Sheets singled in Bowman, but she was caught in a rundown between first and second. During the scramble, Martin scored to make it 7-6.
East might have relaxed a little after that, Hill guessed. The Cards allowed a runner to reach scoring position without getting a hit. There was a walk and then an error on a sacrifice bunt that allowed North to get a great start and push across one run with a hit for an 8-6 lead.
Then with two outs in the seventh, Barker had a 1-2 count on the batter. Hill wanted the batter to chase a ball out of the strike zone, but the hitter got a good pitch and doubled. North scored an insurance run and went on to win 9-6.
The Cards travel to Starmount today for a double-header. They play Cabell Midland at 11 a.m. and Starmount at 1 p.m.
North Surry travels to Reagan on Monday.