Happy ending for Hawks as Stevens’ walk-off HR tops Harnett Central

by | Apr 26, 2023 | Triton

The Hawks welcome Ross Stevens at home plate after his game-ending home run.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Triton’s varsity baseball team rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Senior Night against visiting All American 3-A/4-A Conference and Harnett County rival Harnett Central on Tuesday, as senior Ross Stevens’ two-run walk off home run lifted the Hawks to a 5-4 win.

“We got down early, 4-0,” said Triton coach David Reece. “They didn’t give up. They kept putting pressure on Harnett Central every inning. Tucker Brown coming in throwing up zeros in relief, he did a phenomenal job keeping them off balance. We were getting the hits when we needed to. It was just a great job keeping the intensity and never giving up.”

The loss broke a two-game win streak for the Trojans (9-11, 8-5 AAC).

Junior right-hander Tucker Brown was the winning pitcher for the Hawks (17-3, 10-3), giving up no runs on no hits and two walks, with four strikeouts in five innings of relief.

Stevens had two hits, including a home run, three RBIs and one run scored and senior Jalen Evans had two hits, including a triple and two RBIs to lead Triton at the plate.

Will Meredith had two hits and one run scored. Anthony Jones had a double and an RBI. Wyatt Avery had one hit and one run scored. Braxton Davis had one hit. Jackson Lanier had two runs scored. Hayden Campbell scored once as a courtesy runner for Jones.

Prior to the game, Triton honored seven seniors: Jalen Evans, Xander Johnson, Jackson Lanier, Ross Stevens, Wyatt Avery, Kenneth McKoy and Anthony Jones.

Central scored one run in the first inning and three in the second to take a 4-0 lead.

Reece cited a pair of catches made by Kenneth McKoy in right field in the fifth inning, including one where he made a long run to track a fly ball and crashed into the fence as he made the catch to rob what looked to be a multiple-base hit, as a key turning point in the game.

“I think the big momentum shift came on Kenny McKoy with those two big catches in right field,” Reece said. “It kept us in the ball game. And these boys feed off of each other and off of that energy. I challenged them after they came off of the field after those plays, ‘Feed off of the energy. Feed off of the intensity.’”

Triton scored one run in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to cut the lead to just one.

Jones reached on an error in the bottom of the seventh and Campbell entered as his courtesy runner. With two out in the inning, Stevens hit a towering shot over the center field fence to propel the Hawks to the win.

“Senior coming up big on Senior Night,” Reece said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more in that situation. In 20 years of coaching, that’s one of the most exciting ball games I’ve ever seen.”

Triton travels to Harnett Central on Thursday for the Trojans’ Senior Night to end the regular season.

“We’ve got to get back to work tomorrow,” Reece said. “I told the boys to enjoy this one tonight, but we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow. They’re going to be hungry. It’s going to be their Senior Night. And everybody knows Triton-Harnett Central is one of the best rivalries around.”

Ross Stevens extends on his walk-off home run to center on Tuesday night.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Aiden Taylor gets a hit for Harnett Central on Tuesday night at Triton.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Hawks third baseman Xander Johnson makes a throw to first.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Helder Bejarano gets a hit for Harnett Central.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Harnett Central shortstop Brantley Champion throws to first for an out.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Tucker Brown got the win in relief for the Hawks.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)



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