With a week to go in the 2018 regular season, North Surry’s softball team is in the clubhouse of the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference.
Senior Drew Beamer tossed a complete-game victory and staked the Lady Greyhounds to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the bottom of the fourth inning, stroking a two-run triple that gave her team a 3-2 lead in a game where visiting Surry Central took the lead on two occasions. North Surry went on to win the game 4-2.
The Lady Hounds (12-9 overall) were playing their final regular-season conference game. North Surry is currently alone in third place in the league with an 8-4 conference mark, although Central (7-10, 6-4 WPAC) could still tie them for the spot if it wins both of its games next week. The Lady Golden Eagles held a 1-0 lead in the first inning and 2-1 in the third, but managed just one hit in the rest of the contest. Beamer went the distance on just 90 pitches, allowing four hits and striking out three.
The visitors, who had stunned North Surry back on March 27 when Taylor Coe hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, started off well in Friday’s rematch. Claire Via led off with a single and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice by Megan Atkins. Coe followed with a single to right, and Via moved up to third. A sacrifice fly by Savanah Atkins put the Lady Eagles on top 1-0.
The Lady Hounds had a great chance to answer back in their half of the first, but came up empty. Evann Shelnutt led off and walked on five pitches, and then Beamer smacked a line-drive double into left field off Central pitcher Emma Bullin. But the next batter grounded out, and then Bullin bore down and fanned Madison Bowman on three pitches. Abby Draughn was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two down, but Bullin got Ellie McHone to ground out and escaped the jam.
North did get the run back in the second. Mia Simmons hit a one-out single, and came in to score on a two-out double by Shelnutt. The Lady Hounds were looking for more, but Bullin struck out Beamer and got out of trouble.
Via got the North Surry hurler again leading off the Central third, doubling to center field. She moved to third base on Megan Atkins’ groundout and then scored on a sac fly by Coe.
Things started moving along quickly in the fourth, with Beamer setting down Central 1-2-3 and then Bullin getting the first two North batters to pop out. However, Karlie Marion hit a fast grounder up the middle and the Lady Hounds were back in business with two down. Shelnutt got on base for the third time in the game, swatting another ball right up the middle of the diamond and putting runners on first and second.
This brought up Beamer again, and Bullin quickly got ahead 0-2 in the count. Three pitches later, with the count at 1-2, Beamer got the pitcher she was looking for and sliced a ball into left field. By the time North was able to get the ball back into the infield, Marion and Shelnutt had scored, and the Lady Hounds had taken the lead.
The home team got an insurance run before the inning ended. Makara Woodbury followed with a walk, and then Bowman singled to bring in Beamer for a 4-2 lead. Bulling fanned Draughn to get out of the inning, but the damage had been done.
Beamer did the rest. Via had her number again in the top of the fifth, smacking a double to give her a perfect 3-for-3 night with a walk, but Central only has one Via, and Beamer quickly recorded the third out.
McHone greeted Atkins, who’d moved to pitcher, with a leadoff triple in the North half of the fifth, but then Atkins struck out the side without her ever crossing home plate. It didn’t matter, though. Coe reached on an error to start the Central sixth, but Beamer set the next three batters down in a row. She did the same in the top of the seventh and the game was over.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.