North Stokes took one step closer to clinching the Northwest 1A Conference regular season softball championship on Thursday when they beat county-rival South Stokes 8-2 in Walnut Cove. With only three teams in the conference that have softball programs this season, the Vikings have beaten East Surry twice and with the victory over the Sauras, they only need one more win to secure at least a tie for the title.
“It’s a goal every year to win a conference championship and get that number one seed in the state playoffs,” said Viking coach Jeff Frye. “I think we were very fortunate to win against South. We didn’t play very well and didn’t hit the ball early on. We have several areas that we need to get better in to be able to achieve our goal of winning a state championship.”
The Vikings struck first when Kelsey Hawkins reached base by error in the top of the third inning. She advanced to second on a bunt by Sierra Hubbard and then crossed home plate for the 1-0 lead when Carley Gravely hit a double to the outfield.
South responded in the bottom half when Destiny Agee hit a shot over the centerfield wall to knot the game at one with two outs.
The advantage was short lived as the Vikings Autumn Martin led the fourth inning off with a homerun and put the visitors back up 2-1.
After holding the home team scoreless in the bottom half of their inning, the Vikings plated three runs in the fifth. Sarah McBride led the frame off with a single and then Gravely followed suit advancing her to third. Martin singled scoring both runners and then she touched home plate on a double by Sydney Mabe for the 5-1 lead.
Both teams added a run each in the sixth inning with the Vikings plating two more runs in the seventh on Hawkins two-run homer.
“We continue to get better each time out,” said Saura coach Rick McHone. “The girls are learning and we are achieving small goals each game. Tonight we only had two errors and that is an accomplishment. Our attitudes are great and the girls are still fighting hard.”
Martin led the Vikings with two hits, two runs scored, three RBI’s and a homerun. Mabe contributed three hits, while Gravely, McBride, and Lora Wood added two hits each. Agee was 2-for-2 with a homerun and RBI and Maddie Shore reached base on two walks for the Sauras.
North Stokes improves to 10-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play, while South drops to 1-8 and 0-3. The Vikings will travel to McMichael on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the Sauras will host North Surry at 6 p.m.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.