Harnett Central had three wins by one run each against Triton during the 2018 scholastic softball season as the Trojans won the Tri-County Six 3-A Conference regular season and tournament championships.
Circumstances — and the outcome — were different in a less structured summer league setting at Central on Tuesday evening as the Hawks took an 11-1 win in a rainy rival matchup.
“For the most part, the girls played good defense,” said Triton coach Mark Whitman. “I thought we hit the ball well.”
Starter Caroline Marshall was the winning pitcher for the Hawks, yielding one earned run on three hits and four walks, with six strikeouts through four innings. Gracyn Slaughter pitched three relief innings, giving up no runs on two hits, with five strikeouts.
“I wanted to get some good work in for Caroline and Gracyn and they did,” Whitman said. “Caroline had that one bad inning because of the rain. When you can’t spin the ball because it’s wet, it is what it is. She knew that and we just called fastballs and she got herself out of it. Gracyn came in and she pitched great. She was hitting her spots.”
League Player of the Year as a freshman, Kaila Cooney had three hits, including a double, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead Triton at the plate.
Alexis Howard had two hits, including a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Slaughter had two hits, including a double, one RBI and two runs scored. Meagan Harper had two hits and two runs scored. Kathryn Elliott and Reagan Bradham each had one hit, one RBI and one run scored. Marshall and Kimah Warren each had one hit and one RBI. Mackenzie Reid scored once.
Mikaela Goss had two hits, including a double, and one run scored, Kellyn Fulcher had two hits, Ava Gardner had one hit and Emily White had one RBI for the Trojans.
Triton scored one run apiece in the first and second innings, five runs in the third, two in the fourth and two in the seventh. Central’s lone run came in the first inning.
During the third inning, the drizzling rain turned into a steady downpour, but the teams continued to play in spite of the conditions.
Central’s roster for the game consisted primarily of younger players, with Amaya Bell as the lone upperclassman.
Triton had a few more players with varsity experience on hand, including one recent graduate, as Whitman, with Central coach Lauren Taylor’s approval, asked Elliott to return for the game due to having no catcher available.
“I had four older girls playing tonight and Lauren was nice enough to let Kathryn come and catch for me,” Whitman said. “I didn’t have anybody to catch. That was a plus for us, having Kathryn back there. Brittany (Ireland) is at FFA camp. She’s going to catch next year, hopefully. Tatiana (Muniz, a transfer from Western Harnett) is in Colorado playing in a big showcase. So, we missed those two. But I got to see the young girls.”
Central’s remaining summer schedule sees the Trojans at North Johnston on Tuesday, at home against Overhills on July 10, at Union Pines on July 11, at Triton on July 24 and at home against Union Pines on July 25.
Triton has a shorter schedule, hosting North Johnston on July 10 and Harnett Central on July 24 and traveling to North Johnston on July 26.