WALKERTOWN — Toss out eight days of the season, and North Surry’s baseball team is undefeated in 2018.
The Greyhounds came into this spring with some question marks, having lost significant talent from last year’s team, but no one expected North Surry to be an easy victory, because it never is. And the Hounds haven’t been, improving to 9-4 on the season with a 8-1 blowout of Walkertown last Friday night. The win extended the team’s current winning streak to seven games.
The win moved North Surry into second place in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference with a 6-2 slate in league action. North has two losses to league-leading Forbush (11-3, 6-0) and is only a half-game ahead of the Wolfpack (8-3, 5-2), but owns a season sweep of Walkertown. The Falcons and Wolfpack haven’t played each other yet, and North will be hoping that Walkertown, which won the Northwest 1A title in 2016 and 2017 before moving up to 2A, has something for Forbush when the teams play on April 17 and 20.
The Hounds opened 2018 with two wins and then lost four straight, getting beat by East Surry on March 9 and 10 and by Forbush on the 15th and 16th. This left North at 2-4, but with losses against the state’s top-ranked 1A team and one of its better 2A teams, all in an eight-day span. It ended the skid on St. Patrick’s Day with a win over 4A Glenn and hasn’t looked back.
On Friday, the Wolfpack took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Tyler Lynch grounded out to drive in Corbin Lanowitz. However, that was the only run that Hound junior Mason Gwyn allowed Walkertown to get all evening. Gwyn ended up going the distance on six hits with six strikeouts, and the Wolfpack’s line for the last six innings consisted of nothing but zeroes.
The Hounds got the run back in the top of the second inning and neither team scored in the next two frames. However, North teed off on three Wolfpack pitchers in the top of the fifth, putting up five runs and taking command of the game. Gwyn kept handcuffing the Walkertown bats, and his teammates got him two more in the seventh.
All nine players in the Greyhound lineup collected at least one hit, and North had 13 hits as a team. Clay Tompkins was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Calvin Johnson 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, and Mack Cooke 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Bret Johnson and Blake Watts each drove in two runs as well. Cooke and Gwyn each homered in the game.
It marked the second time in a week that North had blown out the Wolfpack with a big fifth inning. On Tuesday of last week, the Hounds led 2-1 when they hung a five on Walkertown in the fifth, en route to a 9-1 win.
North is playing through the spring break, and the Hounds will be at West Stokes this evening and then host the Wildcats on Friday. The Hounds are playing an unusual schedule, with most of their non-conference games in the second half of the season because of postponements in March due to bad weather. North Surry has eight games after the break and only two of them are league contests.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.