Surry Central posted six runs in the first two innings, then scored five more in the fifth and sixth innings.
Pitcher Bradley Lewis allowed only three runs in five innings despite four errors in the field. Alex Wilmoth pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Before the game, Central honored 18 cancer survivors in attendance Wednesday. Home plate umpire Marion Pitts also is a cancer survivor. Organizer Dena Stanley Cave said that one cancer patient at the game starts chemotherapy today.
Throwing out the first pitch was Central’s own Hunter Smith, who battled leukemia as a gradeschooler. The righthander, who pitched in the Eagles’ last outing, moved over to first base for the start of the game.
“Dena Cave did a fabulous job spearheading this evening,” said Coach Matt Scott. “She is an awesome community leader, always helping with Relay for Life, blood drives.” Because of her efforts, Scott said he could keep his focus on the game.
The Eagles batted around in the first inning and scored four runs.
There was some controversy on a play at third base that allowed a run to score.
The Eagles had loaded the bases with two outs. Smith hit a hard shot down the third base line that the fielder was able to knock down. He picked the ball up with his right hand and swiped his left hand and glove to the bag just as the runner was sliding in.
The second-base umpire called the runner out, but Pitts overruled, saying he could see down the line that the third baseman missed the bag by half a foot.
In the fourth inning, North Wilkes got a runner to second with one out. Lewis caught a comebacker and threw to third for a tag-out with the batter reaching safely.
After a walk, a passed ball allowed both runners to move up.
The batter then hit a grounder to short that might have ended the inning. However, the ball slowed and forced the shortstop to charge and quickly throw to first. Smith dug the short-hopped throw out of the dirt, but the official called the runner safe.
During the next at-bat, catcher Austin Stevens tried to pick the runner off third, but the ball sailed over Alex Wilmoth’s head into left field for a second run.
“Austin Stevens does a great job night in and night out,” said Scott, but on Wednesday he had an off-night. “Austin picked off two runners in a playoff game last year. He and Alex have a good connection.”
Scott was glad the sophomore didn’t let a couple of bad plays affect his performance at the plate as he went 2-3.
Catching Lewis can be a challenge, the coach noted, as the senior does some of his best work low in the strike zone.
“Bradley has worked and gained command of a splitter where the bottom really falls out at home,” he said. “Anytime you can throw a pitch with the same arm speed, the deception makes them good pitches.”
Scott said he liked the offensive aggressiveness his team showed early, but after a slow third and fourth inning, he encouraged the team to regain that focus.
Preston Cave, who went 2-4, drove in two in the sixth inning to reawaken the offense.
Josh Mearns also went 2-4 and had two RBIs. Ethan Wilmoth was 1-2 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored.
Scott said he found some things to work on in practice, but is glad that the learning opportunity came with the team still getting a win. The Eagles improved to 7-6, 4-4 in the conference.
Central has road games today and tomorrow. The team travels to Bishop McGuinness today and North Surry on Friday.
Contact Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1920.