DOBSON — On the night the Surry Central softball team celebrated the careers of four seniors, a pair of underclassmen powered the Lady Eagles to a victory over their arch-rivals from North Surry.
Sophomore Ema Coe pitched 6 2/3 innings and freshman Savannah Atkins supplied a grand slam in the bottom of the first as Surry Central earned a 7-4 win on senior night.
“We played really well at the beginning of the season, but this is one of the best performances we’ve had in a while,” Surry Central coach Whitney Joyner said.
North Surry took an early 2-0 lead off Surry Central senior starting pitcher Belle Brindle, who was rewarded with the start for her hard work in the Eagle program over four years. Brindle struggled with her command, however, and two bases-loaded walks forced Coach Joyner to summon Coe in relief.
The sophomore righty came in and shut the door down on the Lady Hounds in the first inning and carried her powerful stuff throughout the evening. Coe finished with four strikeouts and only gave up five hits.
North Surry coach Nathan Bowman believes his team struggled with her ability to paint the outside corner.
“(Coe) did a great job coming in a tough spot and getting out of it,” Joyner said. “She threw all of her pitches for strikes tonight. She doesn’t just use one pitch over and over again.”
Surry Central wasted no time erasing the Hounds’ early 2-0 lead. Katlin Anthony led off the bottom of the first with a single. Hope Hinson reached base on a Hound error, and Coe walked to load the bases for Atkins. The freshman left fielder blasted the third pitch of the at-bat high over the left field wall for a grand slam and a 4-2 lead. The Eagle dugout went into a frenzy realizing how quickly they seized the lead.
“Savannah’s got a great bat, and coming into the season I knew she was going to be one of many freshmen to have an impact,” Joyner said. “Of course her stick has had the biggest impact, and her hitting cleanup for us will only build confidence into the future.”
The rest of Surry Central’s offensive output came in the next inning, but the Lady Hound defense played a major part. North Surry committed two critical errors with two outs that allowed the Eagles to score three runs and increase their lead to 7-2.
Those errors were unfortunate for North Surry starting pitcher Drew Beamer, who settled in and recorded four shutout innings after the defensive miscues. She didn’t give up a hit in her final three innings of work, but still was tagged with the loss because of that decisive second inning.
“Drew wasn’t feeling really well at the beginning, but she bounced back and got better as the game went on,” Coach Bowman said. “We just had too many mistakes tonight in the field. Those errors really killed us.”
On the opposite end, Surry Central was clean in the field with only one error on Thursday night. Anthony was the Eagles’ leading hitter with a 3-4 day at the plate.
North Surry did scratch across a pair of runs in the top of the seventh thanks to another bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice. Cidney Fulk led the Hounds offensively, going 3-4 with a pair of runs.
Both teams will play their regular-season finale on Friday. North Surry has a date with top-ranked Forbush, while the Lady Eagles will travel to King to take on West Stokes. The conference tournament starts the following week, and a rematch between Surry Central and North Surry in the opening round could be on the cards depending on Friday’s results.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16