The North Surry Greyhounds showed they’re in full mid-season form with a 9-1 victory over county rival Mount Airy Thursday night.
Since starting the season 2-4, the Hounds’ baseball team has been nearly unstoppable. North Surry has now won 9-of-10 since dropping a game to Forbush on March 16.
The Hounds (11-5, 7-3) have decimated opponents in the past 10 games. Only two teams have scored more than one on North. The first was Glenn, who fell to North Surry 6-5 on March 17.
The other was West Stokes. If not for the Wildcats’ 2-1 victory over the Greyhounds on April 3, North Surry would have 10 straight wins.
North Surry’s opponent Wednesday, Mount Airy, is in the middle of a streak they probably won’t be bragging about at the water cooler. The Granite Bears (6-6, 1-4) have now lost four straight.
Wednesday’s game was relatively balanced until the bottom of the third inning.
North Surry was the first team on the board in the bottom of the first. Mount Airy’s Alex Hall walked Kobe Slate to start the inning. Nick Badgett joined Slate on base with a single.
Clay Tompkins followed Badgett up with a sacrifice fly that scored Slate, putting the Hounds ahead 1-0. North nearly struck again with Badgett in scoring position, but a strikeout by Hall ended the inning.
A ground out and strikeout by North Surry’s Mackenzie Cooke put the Bears in a tough spot in the top of the second. Backed against a wall, Baylor Brinkley crushed the ball out of the Kennel to tie the game at 1-1.
Hall added a single after Brinkley’s homer, but the pitching of Cooke kept the game tied.
The only action at the plate in the bottom of the second was when Blaike Watts was walked. Two batters flied out and the third was struck out by Hall.
The Granite Bears quickly put two men on base in the top of the third. Clay Taylor was walked, and then Luke Welch put him in scoring position with a single.
Dalton Nance, who ran for Taylor, was tagged out at third off a single from Cooper Nester. Evan Dorsett was up to bat with two outs, but never had a chance to hit when Welch was caught in a pickle between second and third.
The most action in the game came in the bottom of the third inning. It all began with Ethan Oakley being walked. Mount Airy coach Jon Cawley put Nester on the mound following the walk.
Cooke approached the plate as Nester’s first batter and hammered the ball deep into right field. Cooke put the Hounds back on top with an RBI triple that scored Oakley.
Cooke himself crossed the plate after an error at first put Badgett on base. Before you knew it, the bases were loaded and Watts was up with no outs.
Nester kept the plate clean with a strikeout. Up next was Bret Johnson. Johnson hit a grounder to third that Mount Airy elected to throw home and keep the lead at 3-1.
The bases were loaded again with Mason Gwyn up to bat. Gwyn was walked, and with everyone advancing a base, Austin Swartz crossed the plate and put North up 4-1.
Slate put the Greyhounds even further ahead with a two-RBI double.
The Bears went into the top of the fourth down 6-1 and in great need of a hit. Evan Dorsett came through and provided a single for Mount Airy.
Two outs later, Hall got on base after a Greyhound error at first. Dorsett was in scoring position, but wouldn’t advance past second due to a flyout that ended the inning.
The action stalled in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth inning. There was only one combined hit in that span.
Johnson and Gwyn were both in scoring position when Slate hit a two-RBI double. Slate looked to increase the 8-1 lead when he stole third. But he never had a chance to get off third until the inning concluded.
Three flyouts by Mount Airy ended the top of the sixth just as it was beginning.
Cooke hit a single to start the North Surry half of the inning, and made his way around the bases by stealing. Soon Cooke and Triston Atkins were both in scoring position.
The final run of the night came off an RBI single from Calvin Johnson that scored Cooke.
Mount Airy’s last chance was in the top of the seventh inning. Gwyn, who subbed in for Cooke on the mound in the seventh, delivered two strikeouts and forced a groundout to end the game.
Cooke earned the win with four strikeouts and five hits allowed in six innings. North Surry led Mount Airy 9-5 in hitting.
The Greyhounds have just two conference games left in the season, both against Atkins (6-8, 2-5). Two conference victories by the Hounds and a loss by Walkertown puts North Surry in second place in the Western Piedmont 2A Conference.
The Hounds’ next game is tonight at Ashe County (2-10, 1-8).
Mount Airy still has three conference games left in the season and has a chance to get the three-seed if they win out. The first of these games is tomorrow at North Stokes (14-3, 3-0).
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith