PILOT MOUNTAIN — Losing is never fun, but handing the team that beat you a 6-0 stomping on Senior Night has to help alleviate the pain.
East Surry wrapped up the regular season with a win over Bishop McGuinness to finish 19-2 overall. The Cardinals won the Northwest 1A Conference with a 7-1 record. The one blemish on the Cards’ conference record came just one day prior to Senior Night at the hands of the Villains.
Bishop McGuinness (6-14, 2-6) was riding a five-game losing streak before upsetting the Cardinals on Thursday. Three runs in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Villains over East for only their second conference win.
Lightning didn’t strike twice, however. East Surry pitcher Kain Kiser pitched six innings and had 10 strikeouts. Kiser was riding a no-hitter before leaving the mound in the seventh inning.
The Cardinals opened the game on defense but didn’t stay there for very long. Kiser walked lead-off Collin Clarke, but was bailed out when fellow seniors Garrett Willoughby and John Marion forced a double play. Willoughby fielded the ball and tossed it to Marion at second, who fired a throw to Trevor Hauser at first. Kiser then ended the inning with his first strikeout of the night.
East threatened to score as early as the bottom of the first. Willoughby was walked, and advanced to second on a Villain error. The Cards had the corners painted with Willoughby on third and AJ Wilson on first.
Kiser approached the plate and hit a ground ball in the infield. Kiser got on first, but Willoughby was tagged out at home. It was almost like déjà vu when Tyler Chilton came to bat. The Villains elected to get Wilson out at home, thus ending the inning.
East Surry wasn’t away from the plate too long. Kiser delivered three straight strikeouts in the top of the second. With the exception of a walked batter in the third inning, it wouldn’t be until the top of the seventh that the Villains sent more than three batters to the plate.
The Cardinals only had to wait until the bottom of the third to get on the board. Willoughby started things off with a single, followed up by a two-base error on a ball hit by Wilson. Kiser had the first RBI of the evening, scoring Willoughby on a double to put East up 1-0.
Chilton was up next, and he drove in Wilson. The final run of the inning came when Zach Robertson, running for Kiser, scored on a wild pitch by Bishop’s Jake Babcock.
East Surry kept the Villains scoreless in the ensuing innings, but didn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth. Wilson hit a single and then stole second base. A single from Kiser was thrown over first base and out of play, letting Wilson cross the plate and putting East Surry up 4-0.
The Cardinals’ momentum continued into the bottom of the sixth. Back-to-back-to-back walks loaded the bases for East Surry. Bishop’s Daniel Gabriel took the mound as Kiser was up to bat. Kiser hit a grounder to second and the ball was bobbled. This not only allowed him to make it to second, but both Marion and Willoughby both scored as well to go up 6-0.
Bishop McGuinness found themselves in striking distance when it loaded the bases in the top of the seventh. Jefferson Boaz took Kiser’s spot on the mound with no outs and a shutout on the line.
Boaz proceeded to deliver nine strikes over the next 15 pitches to end the game.
A third meeting between the teams is entirely possible, with the Northwest 1A Conference Tournament beginning next week at North Stokes.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith