PILOT MOUNTAIN — Tuesday night’s showcase was a matchup of two teams unbeaten and 4-0 in Northwest 1A play, but only one of them would walk away with first place in the conference standings.
East Surry rose to the occasion and held the defending conference champions, Walkertown, to only one run, while they marched away with the 8-1 victory.
“We knew it would be a big time match up coming in. Walkertown won the conference last year after we had won it two years before that,” said East Surry coach Chad Freeman. “This has developed into a nice rivalry between our schools. Both of us came in 4-0, so we knew whoever won tonight’s game would give themselves a shot and position themselves to be the frontrunner and have a shot at winning the conference championship.”
Walkertown’s only run came in the first inning. There were runners on second and third base and a 2-2 count on the batter when a Wolf plated the first run on a wild pitch.
East Surry (10-2, 5-0 NW1A) responded to the Walkertown tally by scoring five runs during their first opportunity at the plate. Two Cardinals reached base by walk to start things off. A sacrifice-fly out to right-center field moved runners to second and third base. John Marion crossed home plate for the first Cardinal run after Kain Kiser sent a hit to centerfield. Tyler Chilton’s hit out to right field drove in Garrett Willoughby for a 2-1 lead. Walkertown sent a new man to the mound, but Trevor Hauser collected a base hit and helped position runners on first and second with two outs. Colby Guy’s drive to right field guided home Kyle Jessup. The Cardinals plated two more runs before their third out was committed. Nick Shoffner brought home Hauser with a hit, and then Luke Horton loaded the bases with a single of his own. Marion stepped into the box with two outs, found a hole and drove in Guy. East Surry left the bases loaded, but held a 5-1 lead and were well on their way to the victory.
Both squads held one another scoreless throughout the second and third innings, but the Cardinals’ time at the plate in the fourth would provide a little insurance to their already strong position. Chilton’s sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the fourth drove in the another Cardinal run, and after four complete, East Surry led 6-1.
Walkertown threatened to score in the top of the fifth, but the final out of the inning was recorded at home plate and kept the Cardinals’ lead at five runs.
East Surry struck again in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Cardinals registered an additional two runs. Guy was intentionally walked, which loaded the bases for Shoffner, who then collected only one base with his drive to center field that drove in Jessup and Kiser.
The Wolfpack had one more shot at posing any score to the home Cardinals as they opened up the seventh inning, but failed to convert and only placed one runner on base.
AJ Wilson, who started on the mound for the Cardinals, gave up only one unearned-run. Wilson registered 11 strikeouts, allowed three hits, and walked only three batters during his six innings in the circle.
“AJ threw well for us, he gave up one-run that was unearned, and most impressively, up and down the line-up we swung the bats well, as well as we have swung it against good pitching in a while,” said Freeman.
After defeating Walkertown (8-4, 4-1), East Surry owns sole possession of first place in conference standings.
“We still have some stuff to clean up to improve as a team, but overall I will take a win over Walkertown any time that we can,” Freeman said
East Surry’s next contest will be a rematch at Walkertown with a JV start at 4:30 on Friday.