PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry looks to have another strong baseball season behind coaching legend Barry Hall.
East Surry returns two all-conference players and one honorable mention from a team that went 19-9.
Senior Drew Wilson and junior Scott Meredith will lead the pitching staff, while catcher Cameron Sheets will look to move up from the second team to first team this year.
Drew was a runnerup for player of the year last season and will be the team’s number-one starter, said Hall.
He didn’t pitch that well in his first scrimmage, but against a good Chatham Central team he struck out 13 of 15 batters faced, the coach noted.
Meredith hasn’t been able to join the team yet as he leads the Cardinals’ basketball team into the West Regional final Friday night with Hendersonville. Senior Devin Benton and junior Seth Brim also are still playing hoops.
Sheets is a senior who did a good job last year behind the plate, said Hall.
Senior Jeremy Gilley is a good centerfielder and will lead off, said the coach.
Juniors Weston Payne (second base) and Cody Ashburn (third and pitching) also return.
The Cards have some players moving up from the JV team who could have a good impact this season.
Junior Madison Chilton can play the outfield, spell Sheets at catcher or bat as the DH, Hall said.
Fellow juniors Casey Marion and Preston Smith will join Gilley in the outfield.
Sophomore Logan Sheets can play outfield or shortshop. Sophomore Lucas Koons can play outfield and pitch.
Drew’s younger brother, Alec Wilson, swings a good stick, the coach said. The 6-foot-3 sophomore could play first, outfield or pitch.
Hall also noted freshman Blake Marion. Blake will start the season on the junior varsity, but he could be called up if needed, he said.
The team won 19 games last year and could be as good or better of these kids continue to work hard in practice and in games, Hall said. Of course, this is a very tough Northwest Conference where any team has the potential to beat you on a given day, he added.
Hall was outspoken last year against the conference realignment that kicks in next fall. East Surry and Mount Airy will be split from North Surry and Surry Central for a new 1A conference.
Winston-Salem Prep doesn’t play baseball, and Atkins has a team but isn’t very good, he pointed out. North Stokes and Bishop McGuinness have been good in the past, but had down seasons last year.
Rather than battling every time out, the Cards might only have to worry about four games a year: two with Mount Airy and two with Walkertown. And that’s not much of a season, Hall added.
The Cardinals host North Stokes today at 7 p.m. and host Mount Airy on Saturday at 2-2:30 p.m.