After a stinker, any team is happy to get right back on the field the next day and redeem themselves.
North Surry’s softball team found itself off to a 1-3 start when Walkertown came calling for a Western Piedmont Athletic Conference matchup on Friday night. This was nothing to be ashamed of — all of the teams the Lady Hounds lost to are very good teams — but Thursday night’s 15-3 blowout at the hands of 4A powerhouse West Forsyth was embarrassing. The Lady Hounds committed five errors and didn’t even give themselves a chance to compete.
The team that showed up on Friday was completely different. North Surry hit the ball well out of the gate, got an excellent pitching performance, committed no errors, and improved to 2-0 in WPAC action with a 10-0 blowout of the Wolfpack.
“We played well tonight,” said Lady Hounds head coach Willie Hodges. “We came out and hit the ball well to start out with, and the pitching did an outstanding job. We made the plays where we needed to, and I was proud of the girls for how they played tonight.
“After the turnaround from last night to tonight, I know these girls can play ball. They just have to want to.”
Walkertown, a newcomer to the conference, is no slouch. The Wolfpack lost its WPAC opener to West Stokes last week, but owns two victories over 3A Southern Guilford and one win each over 4A High Point Central and Grimsley. If North Surry wanted to get back on track, it would have to earn it.
The Lady Hounds delivered. After Drew Beamer mowed down Walkertown in the top of the first, Mia Simmons greeted Wolfpack starting pitcher KD Dunivant with a single to left. With one out, Karlie Marion blooped a single to right and North was in business. After Evann Shelnutt worked a walk to load the bases, Makara Woodbury smashed a ball to deep center that just missed being a grand slam. The Wolfpack made the play, but Woodbury still got credit for a sac fly as Simmons scored the game’s first run.
With two out, Beamer stepped to the play and lashed a single to left for to score Marion and Shelnutt, and the Lady Hounds ended the opening frame already on top 3-0.
The Wolfpack got a double, one of only two hits they’d collect against Beamer, with two out in the top of the second. But she caught McKenzie Bailey looking on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
North Surry manufactured a fourth run in the bottom of the third. Shelnutt battled back to work the count full leading off and then looked at a ball four. Once on base, she stole second and then moved to third on a ground ball by Woodbury. Dunivant got Beamer to ground out, but Shelnutt broke for home after Walkertown’s third baseman committed to throw to first and made it home.
Beamer struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, Delaney Fulk beat out a slow roller to short with one out. Simmons followed with a hard-hit double to left, scoring Fulk and getting the Lady Hounds on a roll again. With two out, Marion lined a single to center, driving in Simmons to make it 6-0. After Shelnutt walked again, Woodbury had an infield single to load the bases for Beamer, who worked a full-count walk for her fourth RBI of the evening. Walkertown changed pitchers, but North extended its lead to 8-0 on an infield hit by Ellie McHone before the Wolfpack could get out of the inning.
Beamer sailed through another 1-2-3 inning with two more strikeouts in the fifth. In the sixth, she allowed a two-out single, but got the next batter to retire the side with no scoring.
She brought the game to an early end in the bottom half of the sixth, which began with Shelnutt getting hit by a pitch. Natalie Eaton followed with a single to left, bringing Beamer up for the fourth time in the contest. She crushed a low liner down the third-base line, which got into the corner of the outfield and drove in both runners to end the game as a 10-0 North Surry victory.
Beamer ended the game with a two-hit complete game shutout, striking out eight with no walks, and also going 2-for-3 at the plate with six RBI. Marion and Simmons each collected three hits and Fulk two, while Shelnutt had a perfect day at the plate with no official at-bats, drawing three walks and a HBP to end the day with a perfect 1.000 on-base percentage.
The Lady Hounds will need to be at their best again on Tuesday, when they travel to defending WPAC champion Forbush.