The Lady Greyhounds scored three runs in the sixth inning to pull away from Wilkes Central in a 5-1 win Tuesday.
North Surry advanced to the third round of the state 2A playoffs and will host Cuthbertson on Friday.
Coach Willie Hodges juggled a few spots in his lineup, looking for a spark.
Senior shortstop Molly Martin provided it with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first off Kaitlyn Perry.
This came right after pitcher Marlee Bunker had coerced two ground balls to get out of a jam in the top half.
With one out, third baseman Hannah Goins was drawn in by a bunt showing by Ashley Johnson. Instead, Johnson slapped the ball hard at the fielder, who got a piece of the ball, but couldn’t make the play.
Then Shay Poteat singled to center to put two aboard.
Back-to-back grounders to Bailey Culler ended the threat.
After Martin’s homer, Bunker set the visiting Eagles down 1-2-3 in the second.
In the third inning, the Eagles tied the game.
Ninth hitter Ashlyn Spicer doubled to center, then Eiryn Reynolds walked. Johnson hit another slap shot to the left and got a single to load the bases for Poteat.
With the infield drawn in, Poteat hit a weak liner to second that Culler would have caught if she’d been in her usual spot. Instead it was an RBI single that left the bases loaded.
Jodie Brock fouled off three full-count pitches before lining out to Culler.
Perry tried to help her own cause, but she hit a soft liner to right that was caught by right fielder Katlyn Hodges playing shallow. Poteat had taken off from first and was doubled off on the throw to Allison Woodbury.
After the big defensive play, the Hounds wasted no time getting the run back.
Culler led off with a walk and took second on a sacrifice by Goins. She went to third on a ground out by Claire Montgomery.
The Eagles looked to have the inning sealed when the shortstop caught a bouncer from Bunker. However, as she pulled the ball from the glove, the fielder made a little bobble. That was all Bunker needed to beat the play at first as Culler scored.
Wilkes Central got the leadoff hitter aboard in the fourth, but Bunker got a strikeout, ground out and a pop fly near the dugout that Woodbury caught at the fence.
In the sixth inning, the Hounds did their damage with two outs.
Hayley Tickle singled and took third on a double by Hodges.
Martin singled in Tickle to put runners on the corners. She then stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Kacey Beamer.
Beamer singled to left, scoring Hodges and Martin.
Martin finished with two runs and two RBIs.
Molly’s leadoff homer was a positive way to start the game, giving the girls a boost of confidence, noted Coach Hodges.
As for Bunker going the distance, he said, “An outstanding job by her tonight.”
“She wasn’t feeling well,” he pointed out. “She had been sick on Monday.”
He was going to take her out late in the game, but she pleaded her case. She showed a lot of heart, wanting to stay in the circle, he said.
North Surry improved to 15-6 and will host Cuthbertson (19-3) Friday. Both teams are the top 2A school from their respective leagues, but the Northwest has seeding priority over the Rocky River Conference this year.