The rematch of the states top two 1A softball teams ended the same as the first two encounters. North Stokes (14-2, 4-0) completed the regular season sweep of East Surry with a 7-2 win Friday night and clinched the Northwest 1A Conference championship and the number one seed for the state playoffs.
“The girls are playing well right now,” said Viking coach Jeff Frye. “We started slow, but the girls are starting to see and hit the ball. Wining a conference championship and achieving that number one seed was two of our goals this season.”
Friday’s game started out pretty standard. A double by North’s Autumn Martin was the only hit by either team in the first inning. Martin also had two strikeouts in the bottom of the first.
Martin was nearly unstoppable on the mound, finishing with eight strikeouts and not allowing a hit until the fifth inning.
The Vikings chipped away at the Cards in the top of the second. Lora Wood started off with a single, and was soon joined by Kelsey Hawkins and Sierra Hubbard to load the bases. An RBI single from Sarah McBride scored Wood and put the Vikings up 1-0. North extended to 2-0 when a walk by East’s Hali Scott moved Kelsey Hawkins home.
The second inning for East Surry was almost identical to the first. Both Allie Bruner and Maggie Holt were struck out and Grace Kiser ground out to first.
Martin began the top of the third with a double. When Allee Boles hit a double, Martin was tagged out at home after Morgan Smith fired a laser from leftfield to Bruner at the plate. Boles sprinted to third with the ball at home, and an error allowed her to easily take third and achieve an inside-the-park home run.
The lead increased to 5-0 when Kelsey Hawkins hit a 2-run homer that scored Wood as well.
It was another three up, three down inning for East in the bottom of the third. Martin struck out Sarah Marion and both Kelsey Heflin and Anna-Kate grounded out at first.
North extended the lead to 7-0 with runs in the fourth and fifth innings by Reid Hawkins and Wood.
The tide of the game finally changed in the bottom of the fifth. Kiser stepped to the plate and swung at the very first pitch and knocked it out of the park. East was on the board, 7-1.
Holt was next and she recorded a single and then crossed the plate on an RBI double from Heflin.
The top of the seventh was the first three up, three down inning for North Stokes. Heflin was walked to start the last inning for East. Relief pitcher Hubbard then struck out Badgett. Clayton got on base with a single, but Heflin was tagged out at second on a fielder’s choice. The final out of the game came on a groundout by the Cardinals, giving North the 7-2 win.
“We are trying to prepare for the state playoffs and get Autumn some time on the mound. She and Sierra (Hubbard) complement each other really well. The team is buying in with one another and we are starting to play better under pressure. We’re taking one game at a time and not taking any team for granted.”
Martin led the Vikings at the plate with three hits, a double, and a RBI. Wood was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a walk, while Hawkins had a homerun with two RBI’s. Martin pitched six innings with three walks, eight strikeouts, and two earned runs. Hubbard pitched the seventh with one strikeout.
North Stokes will be back in action when it hosts Forsyth Country Day (1-6-1) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.