KING — North Surry needed just six outs on Tuesday night to make it eight in a row. The Greyhounds couldn’t quite get them.
North held a 1-0 lead after five complete innings in a Tuesday night road game at West Stokes, but the Wildcats fought back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and then held the Hounds off the scoreboard to end North Surry’s winning streak and very likely any hopes of a conference title.
The Hounds (9-5, 6-3 Western Piedmont Athletic Conference) are still well-positioned to earn a 2A state playoff berth, but now trail league rival Forbush by three games in the loss column of the league standings. North has nine games remaining in its season, but just three are league contests, starting with a home rematch against West Stokes on Friday night.
On Tuesday, senior Mack Cooke got the call on the mound against the Wildcats (5-7, 2-3), who desperately needed a victory of their own just to start in the playoff hunt. Cooke blanked West Stokes in the first four innings, but his teammates couldn’t scratch, either.
Finally, in the top of the fifth, Brett Johnson collected one of his team’s five hits, and Cooke himself drove Johnson in for the game’s first run later in the inning. When Cooke toed the mound again and delivered a scoreless bottom of the fifth, another hard-fought victory was in sight for the Hounds.
However, things turned sour after that. North was unable to add to its lead in the top of the sixth. In the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats finally got to Cooke, with some help by way of a Greyhound error. Tyler Smith and Jacob Mabe each drove in a run for the home team, which took a 2-1 lead and left North just one inning to respond.
West’s Logan Griffith, who went the distance for his team, was able to reitre the side in the top half of the seventh and end the Hounds’ winning streak. Griffith allowed five hits, but struck out eight and walked none in claiming the win. Cooke, who also went the distance, allowed just four hits and one earned run.
Kobe Slate, Calvin Johnson, Nick Badgett, Johnson and Mason Gwyn all had hits for the Hounds.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.