WEST JEFFERSON — North Surry’s softball team had almost an entire week to stew over a heartbreaking loss in its last game before spring break.
Since returning to the diamond, the Lady Hounds appear to have taken it out on anyone who steps on the field with them.
North won for the second and third time this week on Wednesday night, sweeping both ends of a non-conference doubleheader with Ashe County, 7-6 and 8-1. On Tuesday night, the Lady Hounds had thrashed Walkertown for the second time this season, rolling the Lady Wolfpack 10-0 in a Western Piedmont Athletic Conference road victory.
North Surry (10-7, 6-2 WPAC) was only challenged in the first game of the twinbill with the Huskies. In that game, Ashe County built a 6-2 lead after four complete innings, but in a reversal of fortune from last week, it was the Lady Hounds who came roaring back late in the game. North scored four runs in the fifth inning to tie it up, and then pushed across one more in the sixth and final frame for the win. Doubleheader games are limited to five innings unless tied at the end of five complete.
The Lady Hounds began their rally when Madison Bowman led off the top of the fifth with a single to center. Karlie Marion followed with a double that put two runners into scoring position, and Makala Brickell followed that up with a two-RBI single that chopped the Ashe lead in half. All of a sudden, the Huskies, who had been in control throughout, began to crack.
Olivia Jones hit a ground ball and Ashe kicked it for an error, putting runners on the corners. Another miscue on a baserunning play allowed Brickell to score and sent Jones to third base. The Huskies then recorded the first out, but Jessi Shelnutt walked on four pitches to put the go-ahead run on base. With two out, Evann Shelnutt singled to drive in Jones and tie the game at 6.
Pitcher Drew Beamer sat down Ashe 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the fifth. North took the lead in the top of the sixth when Marion led off with a single, moved to second base on a walk and then scored on Kiersten Walker’s RBI single. A 1-2-3 last of the sixth gave the win to the Lady Hounds.
Walker, Jones, Marion and Evann Shelnutt all had two hits for North, while Bowman went 3-for-4. Beamer went the distance, but three of the six runs charged to her were unearned, and she had 61 strikes in 88 pitches.
The Lady Hounds were clearly the top dogs in the nightcap. Bowman got the call on the mound for this one and didn’t allow an earned run. The contest was called after four and a half since North Surry was the designated “home” team in the second game.
Ellie McHone led off the bottom of the first by reaching on an error, moved up on a Makara Woodbury single, and scored on Beamer’s sacrifice fly.
North had a big second inning, in which Marion walked with two out and sparked a rally. Delaney Fulk singled, McHone doubled to drive both runners in, and then Evann Shelnutt walked. With Woodbury at the plate, Shelnutt and McHone executed a double steal and the latter came in to make it 4-0. Woodbury then singled home Shelnutt for a fifth run.
Marion drove in Abby Draughn in the third to make it 6-0, Shelnutt singled and scored in the fourth, while Beamer reached and stole third and home before the inning was out to complete the scoring.
Woodbury was 2-for-3 and the only Lady Hound with multiple hits in the second game.
On Tuesday night, North Surry had a 10-0 mercy-rule win, and Beamer would have thrown a no-hitter if the first Walkertown (7-6) batter of the game hadn’t singled.
The Lady Hounds scored five runs in the first inning, during which Evann Shelnutt, Simmons and Jones singled, Bowman doubled and Woodbury walked. Beamer doubled in Shelnutt in the second to make it 6-0, with hits by McHone and Draughn plating two more runs later in the inning. A two-RBI double by Beamer that drove in Brickell and Marion made it 10-0.
Beamer had three hits and McHome two in the win.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.