This time, the Cardinals celebrated a little bit more.
When East Surry defeated county rival North Surry last week, the Cardinals were happy to get a win, but their enjoyment was tempered by the fact that several of the Greyhounds were in street clothes, unable to play due to NCHSAA rules that prohibited their playing as long as the school’s basketball season was still ongoing.
That wasn’t the case on Friday, when North played host to East at full strength. As one might imagine, this game was much more competitive, but the Cardinals still bested the Hounds 7-2.
“We knew coming into tonight that they would be at full strength,” said East Surry coach Chad Freeman. “But we swung the bats well and A.J. (Wilson) threw the ball well, and we were fortunately enough to come out with a win.”
The Cardinals, who were playing their first game of the week due to weather, bounced back from their first loss, against West Stokes six days earlier. East Surry is now 5-1 on the season, and led that game against the Wildcats with two innings to go before their pitching faltered late.
In the rematch with North, Wilson, who struck out 16 batters over six innings against the basketball-depleted Hounds last week, got the call against the whole team and pitched the first three innings with four strikeouts. He left with a 6-1 lead, having finally allowed a run in the third thanks to the batting heroics of Kendal Tucker. Tucker, one of two all-state players who was missing the last time, went 3-for-3 with two triples and drove in both North Surry runs.
The Cardinals’ Cameron Whitaker worked the last four innings for East Surry. He allowed the second North Surry run during the sixth inning, again off a hit by Tucker.
East Surry scored one run in each of the first two innings and then exploded for four in the top of the third. The Cardinals tacked on one more in the fifth to lead 7-1 at that point.
Shaky defense hurt the Hounds. Pitchers Chase Chandler, Chase Goodson and Mason Gwyn all pitched for North Surry, but five of the seven runs they allowed were scored as unearned. Both teams held back their top pitcher in anticipation of important games next week. Wilson was yanked after three for this season, and Chandler was allowed to pitch just one frame for North, in which he was perfect and struck out two.
“This was our first game of the week, and I wanted to get AJ some work in before conference next week,” said Freeman.
Leading hitters for East Surry included Kain Kiser, who was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double and two RBI; Luke Horton, also 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI; Wilson, who was 1-for-3 with a homer and two runs scored, and Colby Guy, who was 1-for-4 with a homer and two RBI.
Kobe Slate, Mack Cooke and Calvin Johnson all had singles, which were the only North Surry hits not by Tucker.
The Cardinals will begin Northwest 1A Conference action on Tuesday at North Stokes. The Hounds, now 3-3 on the season, have another non-conference tilt on Monday at Ashe County.