PILOT MOUNTAIN — Mount Airy and East Surry met not once, but twice on Tuesday afternoon for six hours of action on the baseball diamond.
The Cardinals came away with two wins against their rival Bears, 11-0 in the first contest and 9-6 in the second.
“Gotta give credit to coach Cawley and his team because they did not quit,” said East Surry coach Chad Freeman. “We had a great first game and a good first half of the second game and then they started battling back in the fifth inning.”
Freeman used four pitchers Tuesday, one in the first game and three in the second.
“As a whole, pitching is a strong suit for our team,” Freeman said. “Bats are starting to come around and we’ve taken some good approaches.”
The first game of the doubleheader saw East Surry (9-1, 2-0) take the role of the visiting team despite playing in its home stadium. Nothing was wrong with the Cards’ bats as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Mount Airy (6-4, 1-3) had a chance to retaliate.
Bears pitcher Robert Brown walked the Cardinals’ John Marion and Garrett Willoughby to start the inning. Brown did manage a strikeout on AJ Wilson, but gave up the first run of the day off an RBI single from Kain Kiser.
Next came Nick Shoffner, who walked to load the bases. Tyler Chilton extended the lead to 3-0 off a two-RBI single, scoring Willoughby and Kiser.
Shoffner then scored on a sacrifice fly from Cameron Whitaker to make it 4-0. Chase Hewitt, who ran for Chilton, crossed the plate on a wild pitch to wrap up the Cards’ five-run inning.
Kiser took the mound in the bottom of the first and had mixed results. Things didn’t look good when Mount Airy’s first three batters got on base. Brown, Will Mayfield, and Luke Welch all recorded singles to load the bases.
Kiser turned things around when it mattered by throwing three straight strikeouts. He finished with nine K’s in the game.
Both teams were held scoreless until the top of the fifth inning. Brown and Cooper Nester were on the mound for the Bears during this time, while Kiser stayed throughout the Cardinals’ shutout.
Nester began the fifth inning by giving up a single to Colby Guy. Nester then notched a strikeout following back-to-back RBI doubles from Willoughby and Wilson, putting East ahead 7-0.
Coach Cawley changed pitchers once again, putting Colby Baker on the mound.
Chilton kept the Cards rolling with an RBI single, scoring Wilson. An RBI single put East up 9-0, with a wild pitch scoring both Whitaker and Hewitt, running for Chilton, to score the 11th and final run of the game.
East Surry started off the second game much like the first, going up 6-0 in the first two innings off RBI’s from Wilson, Kiser, and Marion.
Wild pitches allowed both Eli Bullington and Willoughby to score, putting East up 6-0 by the top of the third.
Mount Airy got its’ first hit of the second game in the form of a single from Jacob Dodd in the top of the fourth. The bases were loaded off two walks from Wilson’s pitching, but he was able to close the inning out.
Kiser hammered a home run in the bottom of the fourth to score Marion and Willoughby. East was up 9-0 going into the fifth inning.
Simon Cawley began that inning with a double, followed by walks to Brown and Clay Taylor. Whitaker took the mound after the walks, but gave up an RBI single to Luke Welch. Mount Airy was on the board.
RBI singles from Baylor Brinkley and Nester wrapped up the Bears’ four-hit inning.
“We didn’t help ourselves,” Freeman said. “They made good plays and had good baserunning.”
Freeman continued, “We let our emotions get the best of us over some calls, but we’ve got to learn stay focused and under control a little bit better.”
Mount Airy was back on the attack in the top of the sixth. A combination of walks, wild pitches, and a pair of RBI’s put Mount Airy within three.
The Cards held a 9-6 lead heading into the top of the seventh and hoped to break the Bears’ momentum. Seth Keener managed to end the game with a strikeout and being part of a double play.
East Surry won’t compete again until April 4, when it hosts Starmount. The Bears have an even longer break, not returning to the diamond until April 10 against North Stokes.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith