Surry Central stole a march on everyone and slipped into the No. 2 slot in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference when it upset regular-season champion Forbush last week on the Falcons’ Senior Night.
Now their county rivals from North Surry will have a chance to take it away from them, after holding off the Golden Eagles for a 7-6 victory in the conference tournament semifinals on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Greyhounds (12-8 overall) advanced to the championship game, where they will be facing the Falcons on their own turf as well. Forbush already has the No. 1 playoff spot from the WPAC locked up, but if North Surry can deny them the conference tournament title, the Hounds will leapfrog Central and take the No. 2 position. The result of this would be a higher seed and a greater possibility of hosting a first-round state playoff game.
The teams split during the regular season, with North winning 5-2 on April 7 and then Central winning 12-8 at North in extra innings on April 20. In that game, the Golden Eagles came back from deficits of 4-2 and 6-3 to force an eighth inning, where they busted loose for six runs in the top of the eighth and then held on for the win. When Central later split with Forbush — something no one else in the conference was able to do — it meant they finished 7-3 in league play, a game up on the Hounds and South Stokes.
In Wednesday’s rubber match, hosted by Forbush, the Eagles took a 2-1 lead after one complete inning of play, but North Surry took the lead for good in the top of the second, scoring five unanswered runs. The lead went to 7-2 in the top of the third, but the Eagles began to mount a rally in their half of the inning, getting that run back. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Central scored three more times and closed to within 7-6. North Surry responded by replacing starter Mack Cooke on the mound after he’d thrown 102 pitches. Kendal Tucker came in for the last inning and nailed down the win and a save for himself.
The Eagles collected nine hits in the loss, but none of them went for extra bases. All of Central’s damage came by way of singles and three walks. Ethan Danley had three hits, while Tyler Whitaker and Jed Kidd each had two. The Hounds collected 10 hits and six walks on their side of the ledger.
Surry Central dropped to 16-7 overall with the loss. The Golden Eagles will find out their playoff assignment this weekend, but will likely be rooting for Forbush (20-3), a 9-4 winner over South Stokes in Wednesday’s other semifinal, to beat North Surry tonight and leave Central in the No. 2 playoff position.