Defending state champs down Seniors in Game 1 of series

First Posted: 7/3/2009

PILOT MOUNTAIN The Surry Pride seniors met the wrecking ball that is Randolph County Friday and gave way with little protest, losing 9-3 in Game 1 of the best-of-five American Legion playoff series.
Randolph, the second seed in the region and the defending North Carolina champions, were led by Hunter Ridge, who put together a solid performance at the plate where he finished 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
Surry managed six hits, but reached base only twice in the first five innings, while Randolph jumped out to an early 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the third.
In the top of the sixth with two on and no outs, a Randolph player hit a deep fly to center, with Surry dropping the catch to put runners on first and third.
One batter later however, Surry turned a double play when first baseman Taylor Hull hit catcher Matt Harris to catch a Randolph player at home for the second out.
But, as it would all night, Randolph kept hitting, with a double to the fence scoring another run before Pride pitcher Christian Easter could get out of the inning, pushing Surrys deficit to 4-0.
Another unfortunate turn of events came in the sixth, when an errant throw to first base for the third out pulled Hull off the bag, with a Randolph runner scoring from second on the error to make the score 5-0.
Surry finally retired the side but couldnt manage any offense, leaving the door open for Ridge to strike on the first pitch of the seventh inning, blasting a solo home run to deep right-center to push the Randolph lead to 6-0.
Easter got out of the remainder of the seventh unscathed, and Surry finally managed some offense in the bottom half of the inning, as back-to-back doubles by Hull and Harris pushed across the Prides first run of the game.
Randolph added four more runs in its final two at-bats to take a 9-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Surry managed two runs of its on in the bottom of the ninth off a Shane Johnson double, with Hull and Daniel Shaefffer scoring on the hit after Ridge came on and walked the bases loaded.
The surge was too late however, and Surry finally relented with the final at 9-3 Randolph.
The Pride will head to Asheboro today for Game 2 at 7 p.m.
After dropping both regular season matchups to Randolph, 6-3 and 14-3, respectively, Surry coach Barry Hall said the difference in the game was simple.
They are just better, Hall said. They play in better programs than our kids do, they play a better brand of baseball than we play and they have been that way since they have been in Legion ball. For us to beat this team we have to be very lucky. We have to make every play, cant make any errors, we have to score every time we get a man in scoring position. Bottom line, for us to beat them we have to play the perfect game and you dont see many of those.

Contact Thomas Smith at [email protected] or 719-1920.

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