PILOT MOUNTAIN — The re-rematch of the states top two 1A softball teams ended the same as the first two encounters. North Stokes (14-2, 4-0) completed the regular season sweep of East Surry with a 7-2 win Friday night.
The Cardinals (11-6, 2-3) have now lost three straight games. It’s worth noting the quality of East Surry’s losses.
Friday’s 7-2 setback was against MaxPreps’ number-one ranked 1A, North Stokes. Before that, the Lady Cards fell 11-8 to 4A Davie High School (9-7, 4-2) on the road. Finally, East dropped a road game to the West Stokes Wildcats (13-2, 6-2) 3-1 on April 9.
Friday’s game started out pretty standard. A double by North’s Autumn Martin was the only hit by either team in the first inning. Martin also had two strikeouts in the bottom of the first.
Martin was nearly unstoppable on the mound, finishing with eight strikeouts not allowing a hit until the fifth inning.
The Vikings chipped away at the Cards in the top of the second. Lora Wood started off with a single, and was soon joined by Kelsey Hawkins and Sierra Hubbard to load the bases.
An RBI single from Sarah McBride scored Wood and put the Vikings up 1-0. North extended to 2-0 when a walk by East’s Hali Scott moved Kelsey Hawkins home.
The second inning for East Surry was almost identical to the first. Both Allie Bruner and Maggie Holt were struck out and Grace Kiser ground out to first.
Martin began the top of the third with a double. When Allee Boles hit a double, Martin was tagged out at home after Morgan Smith fired a laser from left field to Bruner at the plate. Boles sprinted to third with the ball at home, and an error at third allowed her to easily take third and achieve an inside-the-park home run.
The lead increased to 5-0 when Kelsey Hawkins hit a 2-run homer that scored Wood as well.
It was another three up, three down inning for East in the bottom of the third. Martin struck out Sarah Marion and both Kelsey Heflin and Anna-Kate grounded out at first.
North would extend the lead to 7-0 with runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The only thing that went East Surry’s way during this time was when Autumn Lawson was walked, ending Martin’s perfect game.
The tide of the game finally changed in the bottom of the fifth. Kiser stepped to the plate and swung at the very first pitch and knocking it out of the park. East was on the board, 7-1.
Holt was next and she recorded a single. Holt crossed the plate on an RBI double from Heflin.
The Vikings committed their first error of the game, allowing Badgett to get to first. Bethany Clayton got on base with a single and then advanced to second when North tried to get Badgett out at third.
East Surry looked to inch closer to North Stokes’ lead with two players in scoring position, but Martin ended the inning with a strikeout.
Scott returned to the mound after Lawson threw for two innings. Scott only allowed one hit and one base on balls in the inning.
Lawson was walked to begin the bottom of the sixth. A single by Kiser advanced courtesy runner Scott to second.
Once again, a strikeout from Martin ended the inning before East could continue cutting into the lead.
The top of the seventh was the first three up, three down inning for North Stokes. East Surry now had three outs to get at least five runs.
Heflin was walked to start the inning. Relief pitcher Hubbard then struck out Badgett. Clayton got on base with a single, but Heflin was tagged out at second on a fielder’s choice.
The final out of the game came on a groundout by the Cardinals, giving North the 7-2 win.
Now through likely the toughest week of the season, East Surry’s next challenge will be at Starmount (7-6, 6-4) on April 18.
North Stokes will be back in action when it hosts Forsyth Country Day (1-6-1) on April 17.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith