DOBSON — The Lady Greyhounds led 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, but the Lady Eagles rallied for a 6-5 win in the first round of the conference tournament.
Surry Central, the fourth seed, hosted fifth-seeded North Surry, but it was the visitors who led the entire game.
The Hounds jumped out to a 3-0 start against Central pitcher Elise Austin. After that, however, she settled down to allow just two more runs over the next six innings.
In the bottom of the first, the Eagles leadoff hitter, Jordan Wood, walked. Karmen Gardner dropped a sacrifice bunt, but North pounced and threw out Wood at second instead.
Meagan Hutson singled to put two aboard, then Brittany Myers doubled into the gap to score Gardner and Hutson.
After two scoreless innings, the Hounds added a run in the top of the fourth. Central would answer in the bottom of the fifth.
Gardner walked and took second on a wild pitch. Hutson got another hit, driving in Gardner for a 4-3 score.
Hutson moved to second on an out and to third on a wild pitch. Then a grounder to short scored her as the play went to first. That tied the game.
It wouldn’t stay tied for long as North bounced back with a run in the top of the sixth to go up 5-4.
That led to the drama of the last at-bat.
“We got two outs right off the get-go,” said Coach Glenn Craddock.
Cassidy Joyner gave the Eagles some life with a two-out walk. Then Kerri McLamb smacked a double into the gap to score Joyner for the tying run.
Catcher Ivy Johnson then ended the drama with the game-winning single to score McLamb.
This is a great win for Surry Central, but a tough loss for North Surry, Craddock believed. He said he knows how the Hounds felt because his team lost three times this season on the opponents’ last chance.
Both games against top-seeded North Stokes came down to the last at-bat, and West Stokes hit a game-winning home run with two outs, he noted.
With just an out or two more in those three games, Central could have finished at the top of the conference, he pointed out.
Austin finished with 10 strikeouts and just six hits allowed, although the defense did have three errors. She and counterpart Hanna Fulk both went the distance.
“We’ve got some things to work on, obviously,” he said. “We’re not exactly where we want to be right now — we’re still getting there.”
What made the coach most proud was that the Eagles never quit and never got down, even with two outs in the seventh.
Central moves on to the semifinals of the tournament against North Stokes. They play at North Stokes in the second game, following East Surry around 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Reach Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1920.