Source:The Bears’ Alex Creed took a turn on the mound in the seventh inning as Mount Airy won its third consecutive game,
Baseball is fun again at Mount Airy High School.
The Granite Bears won their third game in four days on Friday night, jumping out to a big early lead on visiting Atkins and then clearing the bench in what became a 10-4 victory.
“I was telling the guys that I didn’t know if Mount Airy had won three games in one week in their lifetime,” said coach Jon Cawley. “They’re working hard right now, and playing well, and you can tell that they’re enjoying it.”
In fact, Mount Airy won three in a row as recently as 2015, albeit not in the same week, and the Bears followed that season up with a miserable 3-19 campaign a year ago, in which the team played host for the last two rounds of the Northwest 1A Conference Tournament, but wasn’t able to actually compete in any of the games. After Friday night’s game, the 2017 edition of the Bears already owns five victories, including the previous night’s victory at Surry Central.
“It’s the same guys, and it’s always fun to win,” Cawley said. “We’re learning more and more about the game, and we’re executing a little better, moving guys along, throwing strikes and keeping the ball in front of us, and we’ve been good at making the routine defensive plays, along with timely hitting.”
Mount Airy (5-4, 2-0 NW1A) had gotten more of a battle than it had expected against the Camels (3-7, 0-2) when the teams played on Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. In that game, the Bears had to hang on for the 3-2 victory, and there was a focus on not letting Atkins hang around in the rematch. Chris Chanclor started the game for Mount Airy, and the teams swapped zeroes in the first inning, but then the Bears’ bats started to connect. Mount Airy scored two in the second inning and added four in the third, at which point Cawley felt confident enough to take Chanclor out of the game and finish the game by committee. Each of the final four innings was thrown by a different pitcher. In the meantime, the Bears added two more in the fourth to lead 8-0, and flirted with ending this game via the mercy rule in the fifth and sixth innings. Had the coach not also cleared his bench, playing every player save for one who was ill, it’s unlikely that Atkins would have gone the distance.
“Chris had gone about 50 pitches in the first three innings, and I wanted to be able to use him on Monday if I needed him,” said Cawley, whose team visits Elkin that night. “After that, we just started using people one inning at a time.”
By the fifth inning, the fans were seeing some unusual combinations on the field, with senior Tanner Dutton on the mound and freshman Baylor Brinkey behind the plate. In the Bears’ half of the fifth, Dutton led off with a single to right and Trey Simmons went in to run for him. With two out, Simmons scored to make it 9-0 and put the potential game-ending run on base, but the Camels were able to record the third out, and then score a run in the bottom half of the inning.
Playing with a 9-1 lead in the last of the sixth, Mount Airy again flirted with an early win when Simmons and Cole Sexton were plunked back-to-back with one out. Cooper Nester singled to bring in Simmons and put runners on the corners, but the Camels again avoided being mercy-ruled.
Alex Creed and Matthew Dodd pitched the top of the seventh, in which the Camels got three runs, but still came up well short of making the Bears do any more hitting on this night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.