East Wilkes first baseman Brandi Parks threw Kendra King out at the plate to complete a double play and give the Cardinals a 2-1 win over Elkin at Crater Park Friday.
“We’ll take a win anyway we can get it,” East Wilkes Coach Bradley Hayes said. “They (Elkin) are much improved.
“It’s good to be at the top, but it also means everyone’s gunning for you. You are going to get everybody’s best game.”
Elkin assistant coach Steve Shaw didn’t see it quite the same way. “I still feel like we’re the better team,” Shaw said. “We had them nervous.”
“It was a good ball game. But I bet we’ll be ready next time around.”
The Cardinals improved to 8-1 and 5-0 in the conference. The Lady Elks fell to 8-3 and 4-2 in the conference. The second meeting between the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference’s top two teams will come April 29 in Ronda.
East Wilkes entered the bottom of the seventh leading 2-0 behind the work of Kennedy Lester on the mound. After an error and two singles, the score was 2-1 and King, who had the first single, stood on third with one out.
Cayley Shoemaker then hit a sharp grounder to third, where Ashley Wagoner threw her out at first. King, who took of after Wagoner committed to first, was tagged by catcher Caitlin Macemore who had the ball and the plate blocked with her left leg.
Both East Wilkes runs came on bases-loaded walks; one in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Lester went the distance for the Cardinals, allowing five hits and an unearned run. Lester walked three, hit one, and struck out nine.
Shoemaker kept East Wilkes in check, allowing six hits and one earned run. Shoemaker walked five and struck out four. The Cardinals stranded 13 runners on base.
“Kennedy did a very good job again,” Hayes said. “And Cayley did a great job for them.”
“I felt like Cayley did her job,” Shaw said, adding he was “really proud of our freshman, Kendra King and Baley Wood. Today, our freshmen showed them how to do it.”
Shaw also complimented Kirstan Beaver. “Her bat was solid,” he said.
It was the first double play of the season for the Cardinals.
East Wilkes is off until a Thursday doubleheader at North Wilkes. “The break couldn’t have come at a better time,” Hayes said.
EW 000 011 0 — 2 6 2
E 000 000 1 — 1 5 4
EW: Kennedy Lester and Caitlin Macemore. E: Cayley Shoemaker and Bethany Turner. 2B: Lester, Kirstan Beaver (E).
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @elkinareasports.