DOBSON — Surry Central played defense like a championship team. Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, Drew Beamer pitched like a championship pitcher.
The North Surry junior tossed an four-hitter at the Lady Eagles on Tuesday night, helping her team to a 2-0 victory on a night when Central’s defense was virtually lights-out, and denied the visitors several opportunities to score early in the game.
The contest was scoreless through four innings, but the Lady Hounds (4-5, 1-1 Western Piedmont Athletic Conference) finally broke through in the top of the fifth on a two-out double by Makara Woodbury that plated Cidney Fulk with the game’s first run. North added an insurance run in the seventh, when Evann Shelnutt singled to drive in Emma Martin, who had led off the inning being hit by a pitch.
Beamer held Surry Central (3-6, 0-2) off the board throughout. The Lady Eagles had a few opportunities to get on the board, including getting the potential game-winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t get anyone home. She went the distance on the mound for North Surry, striking out five and walking just one, and also pitching around a couple of errors by her teammates.
In the Lady Eagles’ last turn at bat, Beamer got the first two Central batters on a popup and a strikeout, but then allowed a walk to Haily Robertson on a full-count pitch. Ema Coe followed with another popup that should have ended the game, but an error caused both runners to be safe. With Surry Central’s top hitter, Hope Hinson, on deck, Beamer got the next batter to pop up to first baseman Cora Stanley and end the game.
Under the circumstances, the Lady Hounds had to be happy to leave with the win. North Surry repeatedly let chances to score runs slip away by brazenly challenging the Central defense, only to find the Lady Eagles up to the task. In the first inning, Fulk led off with a walk and Shelnutt followed with a double, but North Surry ended up sending just three batters to the plate. Beamer hit a ground ball to short and Fulk broke for home, but was gunned down at the plate by a throw from Central first baseman Haley Newman. Then, with Woodbury at the plate, Shelnutt was picked off by a throw from Central catcher Savanah Atkins, who threw behind her to force a rundown.
Woodbury then led off the North Surry half of the second with a single. The Lady Hounds used a courtesy runner for her, who promptly got picked off first base. The Lady Hounds then put two more runners on base after that, but the pickoff meant they ran out of outs before scoring.
In the fourth, North loaded the bases with two out against Central starting pitcher Claire Via, but Via escaped even after falling behind Martin 3-0. After two straight strikes, she got Martin to ground out to second.
Central’s best chance had come in the third inning, when Hinson stroked a two-out double for her second hit of the game, and Atkins reached behind her. However, Beamer got the last out.
Ema Coe replaced Via on the mound for the fifth inning, and the Lady Hounds’ luck started to change. Fulk led off with a walk, and Shelnutt laid down a bunt that would have gone for a hit if not for some outstanding defense on the play by Atkins behind the plate. However, Coe got the next batter and it looked like Central might wiggle off the hook again before Woodbury smashed a deep drive to right that came close to leaving the park.
In the bottom of the fifth, Central’s Sadie Williams hit a two-out Texas Leaguer that none of the North defenders could get to, bringing up Hinson as the potential go-ahead run, but Beamer got her out for the only time all evening.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.