North Stokes has won three-out-of-four games to kick off the 2018 baseball season. On Monday night, the Vikings pulled off a 6-3 victory against West Stokes, a first since 2010.
“They have a pretty solid team over there,” said North’s coach Stephen Sauer. “We’re happy with the win and proud of our guys. Last year our rival started back and it was a heck of a game. Our defense was solid; we kept our walks downs and had timely hitting. We have a small time to celebrate because we have them again on Friday at our place.”
Junior Jake Craddock singled with one out in the top of the first inning and then scored when Layton Helms rocket to centerfield was bobbled allowing him to come in for a 1-0 edge.
The Wildcats bounced back in the bottom half when leadoff hitter Jacob Mabe singled and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a one out ground ball from Jordan Smith knotting the game at one.
North Stokes responded in the third inning when Noah Smith singled and moved to second on a fielding error by the home team’s leftfielder. He made it to third on Craddock’s ground out and scored off Helms single giving the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
West tied the game again in the fourth when Craddock hit two Wildcat players and walked another to load the bases. Sophomore Daniel Kimmel hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Jordan Smith and tying the game at two.
The Vikings plated three runs in the top of the fifth inning and forged ahead 5-2. Noah Smith led the inning off with a single and Helms followed by putting two runners on with one out. Bullins walked loading the bases. East hit a sacrifice to centerfield scoring courtesy runner Dustin Bowman. Koby Clark added to the hit parade with a single, loading the bases once again for freshman Christian Shemo. Shemo singled scoring both Helms and Bullins for a three run lead.
At the plate, Mabe singled in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, stole second, and then scored on Tyler Little’s hit to centerfield. West Stokes Jordan Smith just missed tying the game when he flew out against the centerfield fence ending the inning and threat.
The Vikings added an insurance run in the seventh off of a double by Bullins and scored on a single by East.
“Our freshmen really stepped up with some timely hitting and defensive plays,” added Sauer. “(Jake) Craddock was amazing on the mound and I thought Noah (Smith) had a great game from the lead off position. We want our kids to have a team and program mentally. We’re still pretty young and I can’t wait to watch these men play this season.”
Helms, Clark and Smith (Noah) led the Vikings with two hits. Helms, East, and Shemo added two RBI’s each. Mabe was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a stolen base for the Wildcats.
Craddock earned the win on the mound by pitching six innings, added two hits, two earned runs, two walks and 10 strikeouts. Little went four innings with eight hits, five strikeouts, a walk and four earned runs.
North Stokes improves to 3-1 and will host East Wilkes on Thursday and West Stokes on Friday. The Wildcats fall to 0-2 and will play Starmount on Wednesday in King.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.