Wildcats clinch conference championship with victory
On Tuesday night, that dream became a reality as the Wildcats beat North Surry 11-4 to clinch the school’s third conference crown and its first title as a member of the Northwest 1A/2A Conference, which is only in its second year.
The win makes the Wildcats 13-5 overall and makes them 10-3 in the conference. They will close out the conference season next Friday night when they travel to East Surry.
“It feels really good to win the conference,” said Goodson. “Winning the conference was one of our goals at the beginning of the season and it feels good to accomplish it. These kids deserve it. They’ve put in so much hard work in the offseason and in practice. I’m proud of all of them. It feels really good.”
North Surry scored two runs in the bottom of the first to go up 2-0. The Wildcats responded in a big way.
Dustin Chunn led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo homerun. After Chunn’s bomb, Dalton Boles was walked and Amos Wilmoth was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second for West Stokes.
Blaine Durham came to the plate and belted a three-run homerun regain the lead at 4-2.
“They came out of the gates quickly,” said Goodson. “I was pleased with how we responded when we got down early. We started making defensive plays and we started putting the bat on the ball. We didn’t let up.”
Durham finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate. He finished with a game-high five RBI. Chunn was also 3-for-5 with a homerun and three RBI.
Chunn came just a single away from hitting for the cycle for West Stokes.
Jordan Hall finished 2-for-5 at the plate and had a solo homerun in the fifth inning to help West Stokes increase its lead.
Andrew Smith picked up his third win on the mound this season for the Wildcats. The senior threw 5.2 innings while striking out five.
The victory over the Greyhounds means that the Wildcats will be the No. 1 overall seed in the Northwest 1A/2A Conference Tournament, which begins on May 3.
After the game, Goodson made it a point to remind his team that they can’t afford to let up now that they’ve gotten the conference championship under their belts.
“We want to be playing our best baseball towards the end of the season,” said Goodson. “We are doing everything we can to prepare for the playoffs. Every game we play from here on out is to prepare us for the playoffs.”
The Wildcats will compete in an Easter Tournament in Salisbury this Friday, Saturday and Monday.
The first round of the tournament pairs West Stokes with Lake Norman. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday night.
“We’re going to get quite a test this weekend,” said Goodson. “We’re expecting quite a dog fight in this tournament, but it’s only going to make us better as we prepare for the conference tournament and the playoffs.”
The victory over the Greyhounds snapped a two-game losing skid for the Wildcats. Last week, they fell 7-4 to defending conference champion Surry Central 7-4 last Tuesday and they fell to Bishop McGuinness 9-3 last Friday.
“We had a little bit of an off week last week,” said Goodson. “It felt good for us to bounce back against a good North Surry team. It felt even better to accomplish our goal of winning the conference championship. We’re not done yet, though. We still have a lot more baseball to play.”