First Posted: 4/22/2009
DOBSON Dont even think about taking it easy on Sherry Gates because of the cancer. If anything, she might be the one who needs to tone it down.
I held back a little, Gates joked after throwing out the first pitch of Wednesdays clash between Surry Central and Mount Airy. I didnt want to hurt him.
Gates, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, was chosen to be the honorary pitcher by host Surry Central and the Dobson First Baptist Church Relay for Life team. A former softball player, Gates was excited to do the honors.
I played ball my whole life, so I said, sure, Gates said. Its been a while and Ive had a bunch of surgeries since then. I didnt know if I could do it.
No worries there, as Gates pitch flied true to the catchers mitt in front of a packed house. In fact, she was the only player on the mound who didnt have control issues early on.
Food raffles and pink baseball shirts were abundant, as money was raised for Relay for Life, the amount of which was not available at press time. Prior to the game, nine cancer survivors trotted out like a starting lineup. Out of those nine, three had a tie to the game. Surry Central junior varsity player Hunter Smith suffered from a form of lung cancer as a child. Mount Airy assistant coach Jon Cawley represented the Granite Bears and umpire Jamie Payne also suffered from the disease.
Rob Thomas, Brain Gates and Donna McLamb were key contributors to the event, as was the Dobson Citgo, which made a donation towards Surry Centrals uniforms.
Surry Central coach Matt Scott, who attends the same church as Gates, said he wants to hold a similar event on an annual basis with another local team involved. That way, more fans will be able to attend.
As long as they keep me here, Ill vote to do this, he said.
As far as the non-conference game went, the Golden Eagle scored two runs apiece in the second and third innings, en route to a 5-2 victory. In the second, Heath Reece doubled in Brett Boyles and Luke Harris. In the third, Surry Central (12-6) went hitless, but still plated a pair of runs on account of Mount Airy walks and errors.
Boyles finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Mount Airy (10-6) got a monster game from Reece Barbour, but it was not enough. Barbour was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. Tyler Hull added another double for Mount Airy, which had three of its five hits go for extra bases. The Granite Bears rallied to score in the sixth and seventh before falling.
Although the game was tight and compelling, Scott said the focal point of the contest was to honor cancer survivors.
We love baseball but theres other things more important than baseball, he said. I hope it made those people feel supported and cared for.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.
MA 000 011 0 2 5 3
SC 022 010 x 5 3 1
WP: Luke Harris; LP: Nathan Welch
2B: Reece Barbour (2), Tyler Hull; SC Shane Johnson, Heath Reece