Two of the best softball teams around spent the first Friday of spring competing for supremacy in the Northwest 1A Conference and the North Stokes Lady Vikings were victorious over East Surry 4-3 in an eight-inning thriller.
“I’m proud of the girls fight and effort,” said Viking coach Jeff Frye. “It was a great game to be involved in. East Surry played really well and made some great plays in the field. We continued to hit the ball hard and when you do that, good things will happen.”
North (7-1, 2-0) opened its season with a 9-2 victory over East on March 5. With the exception of a 2-1 road loss to the undefeated West Stokes Wildcats, the Vikings have been on a tear.
The Cardinals (7-3, 1-2) struck first in the game. Bethany Clayton led off with a double to left field that nearly went over the fence. Anna-Kate Badgett’s sacrifice bunt moved Clayton to third and then another sacrifice fly from Autumn Lawson allowed Clayton to score.
Lawson took the mound with a 1-0 lead and set the first three Vikings down. She kept the Cards’ alive for the first three inning of the game by allowing zero hits.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the third that North Stokes recorded a hit. Lawson hit Sarah McBride with a pitch and then Carley Gravely singled moving her to second with one out. Reid Hawkins reached on a fielder’s choice and right-fielder Autumn Martin plated Gravely to tie the game at one.
A scoreless trip for East put the Vikings back at bat. Sierra Hubbard reached on an error and moved to third on a single by Allee Boles. She scored on a grounded out by Kelsey Hawkins putting the Vikings up 2-1.
East only managed one hit in the fifth inning. Things didn’t look for the Cardinals when North extended their lead to 3-1 on an RBI double from Martin that scored Gravely.
Lawson got on base in the top of the sixth inning with a line drive between first and second base. Grace Kiser’s plate appearance changed momentum of the game with a two-run homer that knotted the game at 3-3.
Kristin Hicks kept things going with a double that resulted from a Viking error at first base. Hicks was in scoring position when Maggie Holt was at-bat. Holt smacked a line drive that would have scored Hicks, but it was caught by Reid Hawkins to end the inning.
Two hits by North Stokes in the bottom of the sixth nearly put the Vikings ahead. However, East Surry forced two late outs to take a chance at winning.
Neither team scored in the seventh inning, leading to extra innings.
Allie Bruner was the only Cardinal to get on base in the top of the eighth, putting the ball in the Vikings’ court.
Boles led the eighth inning off with a single. Then, Kelsey Hawkins hit a line drive down the third base line for a RBI triple that plated Boles for the winning run.
North Stokes stands atop the conference with a two game lead. The Vikings will host Cornerstone Charter Academy on Tuesday, while East Surry will host South Stokes.