Harnett Central took a pair of girls varsity wins on the road against All American 3-A/4-A Conference and Harnett County rival Triton, winning in softball and girls soccer on the Hawks’ Senior Night on Friday.
Two days after taking its first conference loss of the season at home against Triton, Harnett Central’s softball team won a 3-0 shutout to give the Hawks their first conference loss.
“We’ve had some different talks throughout the past couple of days and went back to our original game plan of attacking the strike zone,” said Harnett Central softball coach Ashley Gaines. “I think they did a phenomenal job of that tonight. When we hit the ball, it was hard. But we also continued to tell them, ‘You fight every inning. You chop away every inning, whatever it may be. You do your job. You do it well. And you pick each other up.’ If we do that, we take care of business, so it was big to see them do that.”
Triton softball coach Mark Whitman said missed opportunities to score runs were costly.
“We left runners on in that first inning,” Whitman said. “We score that inning and it’s a different ball game. We just left too many runners on base. We had a little running error in the sixth inning. You’ve got to play against them and if you don’t, that’s what happens. We didn’t get the hits we needed and they did. Aubree (Bass) pitched good enough to win. We played good enough defense to win. We just didn’t get the hits when we needed to get the hits.”
Triton (14-5, 13-1 AAC) and Harnett Central (16-5, 13-1) split the regular season conference championship and the Trojans won the draw for the No. 1 seed when the conference tournament begins on Monday.
Sophomore Kacey Fulcher pitched the complete game shutout for the Trojans, giving up no runs on seven hits and no walks, with two strikeouts.
“She just does all the little things right,” said Harnett Central assistant Olivia Scarborough, who works with the pitchers. “Everything you could ask for, she does right. She’s the first one at the field every time. She does anything you ask. Any little tweaking, she always looks to want to be better.”
Sophomore Aubree Bass also pitched a complete game for the Hawks, yielding three earned runs on five hits and one walk, with three strikeouts.
Freshman Lauren Faulkner had two hits and one RBI, senior Mikaela Goss had one hit, one RBI and two runs scored, sophomore Savannah Bain had a triple and an RBI and senior Ivanna Jones had one hit and one run scored for Central.
Junior Ashley Pope had two hits, freshman Berkley Campbell had a double and sophomore Stephanie Davis, senior Tristan Ennis, junior Gracie Byrd and sophomore T.K. McLean had one hit apiece for Triton.
Prior to the game, Triton honored five seniors: Reagan Bradham, Jaliyah McDougald, Tristan Ennis, Grace Wilson and Kimah Warren.
In the top of the third inning, Jones had a base hit, stole second and scored on a base hit from Goss, who also stole second and scored on a base hit from Faulkner.
“I think there is nobody, at least in 3-A, that is a better nine-spot hitter than Ivanna Jones,” Gaines said. “She’s going to make it hard for you to get her out and she’s going to be on base nine times out of 10. She always shows up big.”
“The two of them (Jones and Goss) step up tremendously. I can say this from volleyball experience. (Jones and Goss also played volleyball, which Gaines also coaches). Ivanna played a big role in volleyball. She loves the pressure. Mikaela stepped up and played big in volleyball. The two of them love the pressure. When things start getting hot, those are the two you want leading the team.”
Goss drew a walk in the top of the fifth inning and scored on Bain’s triple.
Harnett Central also shut out Triton in girls soccer, winning by a score of 1-0 for the second straight game against the Hawks.
“They’re (Triton) a hard working group of kids and they’ve got some good ball players,” said Harnett Central soccer coach Johnny Pilkington. “It was pretty even. We were fortunate to come out on top both times.
The Trojans improve to 13-4 overall and 11-3 in conference play. Triton drops to 8-12 overall and 5-8 in conference.
Sophomore Victoria Langdon scored the game’s lone goal in the second half, assisted by junior Galilea Ruiz.
Pilkington was also pleased with the play of the Trojans’ defense.
“We’ve got a pretty good back line,” Pilkington said. “They play together really well. They’re just smart ball players. They work together real well. Savannah Godfrey does an especially good job back there for us.”
After the game, Triton honored five seniors: Santiana Almeida, Carleigh Parker, Ashlyn Vincent, Gabby Artis and Nicolie Vann.
Harnett Central ended the regular season in second place in the conference standings.
Triton’s soccer team has a makeup game at home against conference opponent Pine Forest on Monday.