The fifth-seeded Surry Central softball team is looking to make some noise in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference Tournament, and North Surry was the first team to feel the Lady Eagles’ postseason wrath.
Surry Central (12-13) scored five runs in the top of the first inning and rode that early advantage to a 7-3 win over the Lady Greyhounds (8-16) on Wednesday. Surry Central advances to the WPAC semifinals and a date with Forbush, the conference champion, on Thursday.
“We have a saying for conference tournament and state playoffs,” Surry Central coach Whitney Joyner said. “One day, the game will be over for you, but it’s not going to be today.”
The Eagles took advantage of some wildness from North Surry starting pitcher Kaitlyn Sullivan in the top of the first to the tune of three walks. They also found some success with the bats, coming up with three RBI singles in the inning.
Savannah Atkins and Claire Via each drove in one, and Madeline Needham scored two with a bloop single into right field. Via was Surry Central’s offensive star throughout the evening, going 3-3 with an RBI, one run and two doubles.
The Eagles added another run in the top of the second to give pitcher Ema Coe a 6-0 cushion to work with. Coe defeated the Lady Hounds for the second time in one week, striking out four North Surry batters while only giving up six hits. She did give up three runs, but all of them were unearned.
“We were a little comfortable with our lead and slacked off behind (Coe),” Joyner said. “But she used all of her pitches again. To have a pitcher who has an array of pitches that she has confidence in, it’s been very beneficial to us.”
Coe also received some help behind the plate from her catcher, Katlin Anthony. The Surry Community College commit didn’t allow a stolen base and gunned down three North Surry runners on Wednesday. The game ended when Anthony threw out a Lady Hound trying to steal second off a pitch in the dirt.
“I know Katlin has the talent to have nights like this. She’s got the arm, she’s got the strategic mindset for softball, and tonight she really showed that,” Joyner said.
Bailey Moser entered the pitcher’s circle in the top of the second for North Surry and kept the Surry Central bats quiet throughout the remainder of the night. The only run Moser gave up came in the top of the fifth, when Ema Coe drove in Taylor Coe with a single to rightfield. Otherwise, Moser kept the Eagle bats off-balance with a slow fastball and good location.
North Surry looked like it might seriously threaten in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a pair of Surry Central errors. That opened up the door for a run-scoring triple by Kaitlyn Sullivan and a RBI single off the bat of Whitney Hall. With two outs, the Lady Hounds had runners on the corners and their cleanup hitter, Cidney Fulk, at the plate.
But Ema Coe took care of things herself with a strikeout to end the inning. She painted a fastball on the outside corner for the final strike of the inning.
The Lady Eagles will have their hands full in the matchup with Forbush. The Lady Falcons are 21-1 this season and the No. 2 ranked 2A team in the state according to maxpreps.com, but the Lady Eagles will have some confidence based off a close 4-1 loss to Forbush back in late April.
“Forbush has beaten us twice this season, and it’s very hard to beat a team three times,” Joyner said. “We had some errors in that game, and we just have to clean it up a little bit. We were satisfied to be right there with them and slacked off a little bit, but I think tomorrow we’re going to push through and the girls are going to want to do more than just be right there with them.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16