Mount Airy got its baseball season under way Wednesday night, and the Granite Bears picked up the win, but not without a little hand-wringing.
Visiting Elkin took advantage of four Mount Airy errors in the top of the seventh inning to turn a 9-2 blowout into a 9-6 game with runners on base, and junior Cory Dutton had to come on with two out and strike out the final Buckin’ Elk batter of the night to secure the season-opening victory.
The Bears held a seemingly comfortable 6-2 lead after five complete innings when Elkin (0-2) tried to make a run in the top of the sixth. The Elks put two men on with two out against Hayden Brooks, but Evan Dorsett came on in relief of Brooks and got Mount Airy out of that jam by forcing Lane Moore to ground out.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Bears added three insurance runs that it turned out were necessary.
Elkin pitcher Hayden Brooks got the first two outs of the inning, but then Robert Brown walked, stole second and third bases, and came home on a throwing error. Clay Taylor followed with a walk of his own, Luke Welch was hit by a pitch, and Eli Stroup walked to load the bases.
Mason Corn followed with a single to left to drive in Taylor and Welch and increase the Bears’ lead to 9-2.
Dorsett tried to nail it down in the seventh, but the Bears’ shaky defense behind him enabled Elkin to put four unearned runs on the board with two out, with the only hard-hit ball coming on a two-run double by Tyler Wood.
Finally, coach Jon Cawley called on Dutton to try to halt the Elks’ rally, and he did.
The Bears will travel to Surry Central on Friday night.