Source: John CateEast Surry pitcher A.J. Wilson struck out 16 North Surry batters in six innings of work during a 6-0 victory on Wednesday night.
PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry’s 6-0 victory over North Surry on Wednesday night at Barry Hall Field was the type of game where both teams could play the “fairness” card.
In fairness to the Greyhounds, they were playing with two All-State performers, Chase Chandler and Kendal Tucker, relegated to cheerleader status until after North Surry’s basketball season ends on Saturday in the 2A state championship game. With Chandler, Tucker, and a handful of other players missing, the Hounds weren’t really themselves in this one.
In fairness to the Cardinals, a team can only play the opponents who step on the field with them. And East Surry couldn’t have done a much better job of that, playing error-free baseball and limiting the Hounds — who still have talent even without their roundballers — to a first-inning single.
East Surry starting pitcher A.J. Wilson threw six shutout innings and struck out 16 North Surry batters. He walked four and allowed just one hit, a two-out single by Chase Goodson in the top of the first. Wilson struck out the side in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, Luke Horton pitched a scoreless seventh to wrap up the win.
“A.J. threw very well for us, he was on tonight.” said Cardinals head coach Chad Freeman, whose team improved to 3-0 with the win. “They’re well-coached and fundamentally sound, and we’re glad to get a win against them. But you do have to consider the fact that North wasn’t at full strength, and take that into consideration. When Coach Martin gets his full team back, they’re going to be really, really tough.”
The shorthanded Hounds, who opened their 2017 campaign with a 4-1 win over Ashe County six days earlier, called on freshman Chase Swartz to take on East Surry. Swartz walked Garrett Willoughby to open the game, struck out the next batter, but then quickly got himself into a jam. Wilson came up next, and with Willoughby running on the pitch, he singled and drove in the game’s first run. The Cardinals kept on hitting and running with Trevor Hauser up next, and Hauser legged out an infield single that put runners on the corners. Tyler Chilton followed by doubling just inside the third-base line to drive in a run and put himself and Hauser into scoring position. Nick Shoffner hit a grounder for the second out, but plated another run before Swartz notched his first strikeout and got out of the inning down 3-0.
After the bad beginning, Swartz settled down and allowed just one more run before checking out after five innings of work. In the Cardinals’ third, Hauser drew a one-out walk on five pitches, then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Chilton brought him in with a sacrifice fly.
Goodson pitched the last of the sixth for North Surry and allowed two runs. Shoffner took one for the team with one out in the inning, and East Surry once again had trouble brewing when Colby Guy reached on an error. Cameron Whitaker made the Hounds pay for those mistakes when he smashed a line-drive double to right field for the game’s last two runs.The Cardinals will return to action on Friday night at home against Surry Central. North has games scheduled at Mount Airy on Friday and against Bishop McGuinness on Saturday at South Stokes, but the Hounds’ first game at full strength will be next Tuesday at home against Atkins. The rematch between these teams, with both playing with a full deck, will be on St. Patrick’s Day.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.