PILOT MOUNTAIN — Not that East Surry head softball coach Randy Marion finds it acceptable under any circumstances, but there are days when you can commit several errors and still win.
Do it against a good team, though, and you’ll get exactly what you deserve — a loss.
The Lady Cardinals committed eight errors in a 10-4 loss to visiting North Stokes on Friday night, more than enough to prevent them from having any chance of winning against a team that really didn’t need the help.
“North Stokes has a great ball team. One thing I can be happy about is that we only gave up 10 runs even though we committed eight errors,” said Marion. “Against a team like that, as well as they hit the ball, you cannot make those kind of mistakes. They’re strong top to bottom, they can hit all the way through.”
East Surry (7-4, 1-1 Northwest 1A Conference) seemed to have a slight edge in the early going, taking the lead on two different occasions in what appeared to be a game between two evenly-matched teams. The hosts had reason to believe they were headed to a victory when they gained the advantage a second time in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The debacle began with the Lady Cardinals carrying a 4-2 lead into the top of the fifth inning. North Stokes’ Emma Mabe led off and smashed a double to center field, which East Surry kicked into a Little League home run. East pitcher Emily Cummings retired the next batter, but then Lora Wood hit a legitimate home run over the right-field fence to tie the game and swing the momentum firmly into the hands of the visitors. The Lady Cardinal defense went into total meltdown mode, allowing Ashley Smith to reach on an error before recording the second out. That was only a temporary respite, as Sierra Hubbard followed by reaching on an error and then Sarah McBride singled to shallow right. A walk to Chandley Garner was followed by yet another error, this one allowing Carson Watkins to reach and bringing in two more runs. Mabe stepped up and swatted a clean single to center, extending the lead to 9-4 before Cummings got her “sixth out” of the inning, this one secured by the defense to retire the side.
“We played probably the worst defensive inning that I have ever seen an East Surry High School softball team have,” said Marion. “Dropped pop flies, ground balls we should have caught, anything bad that could have happened to us defensively, did.”
The Lady Vikings (6-0, 3-0) tacked on another unearned run in the sixth, this time after East Surry kicked a ground ball with one out and put Smith back on base. She came in to score on a single by Emma Petree.
North Stokes had mounted threats in each of the first two innings, but failed to score when Cummings pitched her way out of a first-and-third, one out jam in the first inning and then a runner on second with out out in the next frame. The Lady Vikings finally took a 1-0 lead after two were out in the third. Mabe doubled into the left-center gap and Emily Evans followed with an RBI single to right.
The Lady Cardinals took advantage of some shaky fielding by North Stokes to move in front 2-1 in the bottom of the third. Bethany Clayton led off with a walk, then stole second base, and Brooke Whittington followed by reaching on an error. Clayton scored on a passed ball later in the inning, but Lady Vikings pitcher Hubbard got the next two outs before Jennelle walked and Hannah Joyce hit a hard liner toward first base that Wood nearly made a leaping catch on, only to see it go off her glove and into right field to score Whittington.
North Stokes tied it again in its next turn at bat when Hubbard singled with two out and her courtesy runner scored on a double by Garner. Back came East Surry in the bottom of the fourth. Serena Pickens singled with one out to start things off, and the Lady Cardinals ended up with two runs, thanks to a two-out double by Whittington and a single by Cummings that made it 4-2.
East Surry will have almost a week off before hosting Wilkes Central on Thursday.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.