WALNUT COVE — South Stokes hosted the second-ranked East Surry softball team Thursday night and almost got shut out in the process, and even though the Sauras tallied a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, the game concluded with a 10-run mercy rule in favor of the Cardinals, who won 12-1.
“The last time we played them, we only won 2-0, and I think we had only four or five hits. I told them today that we needed to do a much better job hitting,” said East Surry coach Randy Marion. “I was a little bit worried about this game and with the North Stokes game tomorrow being a big game, and I was hoping we would not overlook them.”
In the first inning, East Surry put up two runs for an early lead. Autumn Lawson stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded and chose a pitch to send to centerfield, and even though she collected an out, Bethany Clayton was able to cross home plate for the first Cardinal run. Morgan Smith was next to come home, on Allie Bruner’s base hit. No Saura was able to claim a base in the first inning.
During the second inning, Smith laid down a successful bunt and was able to bring in Kelsey Heflin from third base. South Stokes then walked two straight East Surry batters in a tow, which brought up Sarah Marion. She drove in two Cardinals with a single to left field. Marion attempted to collect two bases on the hit, but was thrown out at second for the third East Surry out. Lawson pitched a perfect second inning against the Sauras’ batters, and after two complete innings, the Cardinals were ahead 7-0.
Both East Surry and South Stokes held one another scoreless in the third inning. In the fourth, Smith was on second base when Lawson blasted a two-run home run to strengthen the lead to a 9-0 mark.
East Surry was able to log an additional three runs before the game expired. Grace Kiser had the big blow in this damage, hitting a two-run double to bring the East Surry part of the scoreboard to an even dozen runs.
South Stokes did not register a single run all game until the fifth inning, which was also the first time they were able to place two runners on base in the same inning. The home team already had two outs when a hit right field drove in the first Saura, which lessened their deficit to 11 runs. However, they needed to score two more in order to avoid the mercy rule and keep playing. After five complete innings, East Surry still led 12-1 and was able to go home early.
“We did a great job. Autumn came out and threw fabulous, and did not give up a hit until the last inning, that was really the only ball that was hit hard. She did a great job on the mound and had great command with all her pitches. Today was a really good team effort,” said Marion.
East Surry improved their overall mark to 12-2 with the Thursday night win over South Stokes, and will host conference foe North Stokes at 7 p.m. today. This is a crucial match in the race for the Northwest 1A Conference title, with the defending league champs at 10-2, 4-1 in conference, and ranked eighth in the state to East’s No. 2 spot. East Surry rallied from a 10-4 deficit to beat the Vikings 11-10 in Danbury on March 21.
“We are excited and ready for tomorrow,” said Marion. “The past couple years, all the pressure has been on us to try to win that second game (against North Stokes) to get a share of the conference championship, but this year the pressure is on them a little bit more. We know we already have that one win, so we know they have to come to our place and beat us there and we feel good about it.”