East Surry baseball beats Reagan to improve to 16-1

By John Cate - jcate@mtairynews.com

PFAFFTOWN — Playing other 1A teams wasn’t doing East Surry any good, so the Cardinals challenged a 4A team on Saturday.

The Reagan Raiders offered more resistance to the state’s second-ranked 1A team than conference foes were, but the result was still the same, as East Surry took a 7-2 victory in this week’s lone weekend contest.

The Cardinals (16-1 overall) were down 2-0 after three complete innings, but pitchers Cameron Whitaker and Seth Keener kept the Raiders off the board the rest of the way, while the East Surry bats came alive in their second and third trips through the order. East tied the game in the fourth inning, took the lead in the fifth, and pulled away.

The win came on the heels of a 15-0 rout of South Stokes on Thursday night in Walnut Cove. East Surry is 4-0 in Northwest 1A Conference play and leads North Stokes (14-4, 3-1) by a full game. The two teams will play twice next week. The Cardinals have already swept South Stokes and Mount Airy, presently tied for third.

The game with Reagan (10-7 overall), a member of the Central Piedmont 4A, started off slowly for the visiting Cardinals. East Surry failed to get a hit in the first three innings, and Raider pitcher Christian Bodenheimer had faced only one batter over the minimum. The top of the fourth didn’t start much better, as the first two Cardinal batters made outs. Then Kain Kiser broke the Raiders’ mojo by smashing a double. Whitaker followed with a walk, and suddenly the Cardinals were in business. Nick Shoffner’s RBI single put East on the board, and then Tyler Chilton tied the game with a double.

Reagan stopped the two-out rally there, but Whitaker set them down in the bottom half of the inning, and the Cardinals went back to work. John Marion and Garrett Willoughby hit back-to-back singles with one out. The Raiders recorded the second out, but Kiser followed with his second hit of the game, scoring Marion and putting East Surry ahead for the first time. With Whitaker at the plate, Kiser managed to take second, and then Whitaker collected his second hit, scoring Willoughby and Kiser.

The Cardinals pulled away in the sixth. Chilton led off with a single and Trevor Hauser doubled to make it 6-2. With two down, Willoughby singled and got himself caught in a rundown, but that gave Hauser enough time to cross home plate and increase the Cardinals’ lead to 7-2.

The first of the Raiders’ early runs was aided by an East Surry error. Reagan got leadoff man Rusty Nicholson on base by way of an error and he eventually came in to score. However, Whitaker was repaid by his defense at the end of the inning, after he’d hit a man and allowed a hit. With two down, left fielder Colby Guy ran down a Josh Hartle single that scored Nicholson and fired the ball to shortstop Marion, who teamed up with Willoughby to catch Hartle in a rundown and end the inning.

Nicholson had a one-out double in the Reagan second inning and eventually scored.

That was the end of the line for the home team. Whitaker didn’t allow another hit and left after six innings and 76 pitches. Keener pitched a perfect bottom of the seventh.

East Surry 15, South Stokes 0

Kiser threw a one-hitter over five innings in a contest that was all but over before anyone had even gotten settled in their seats.

The Cardinals scored five runs in the top of the first inning, extended it to 9-0 after two, and 13-0 after three innings of play. From there, it was a just a matter playing out the string until the mercy rule was invoked.

The first six East Surry batters reached safely in the first inning. Kiser had a two-RBI single to get his team on the board. Chilton drove in Kiser with a groundout, and then Hauser singled to bring in Whitaker and Shoffner. The Sauras (7-8, 2-4 NW1A) “held” East to just four in a second inning highlighted by an RBI triple from Willoughby and a solo home run by Kiser. Willoughby came up again in the third and hit another triple, this time scoring on a passed ball.

In addition to his pitching performance, Kiser was 3-for-3 with a home run and 4 RBI. Hauser was 2-for-4 and drove in three.

By John Cate

jcate@mtairynews.com