Triton’s varsity softball team improved to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the Tri-County Six 3-A Conference with a 6-1 win Friday night over visiting Union Pines.
Caroline Marshall pitched the complete game win. In the bottom of the third, Kaila Cooney hit a solo home run to tie the game and Brittany Ireland hit a two-run shot to give Triton the lead.
That was the only varsity victory versus the Vikings as the visitors took a 9-0 win in girls soccer and a 10-2 triumph in baseball.
Triton’s varsity softball team had an answer for every one of visiting Union Pines’ challenges.
“A win’s a win, regardless of what it looks like and it wasn’t pretty tonight,” said Hawks softball coach Mark
Whitman. “That first pitcher they had (Kaley Evans), that slow pitching, we just don’t hit it well. We don’t adjust to it. I got a scouting report that they were going to cheat to the left and they want it hit to their best ball players, their shortstop (Angel Johnson) and third baseman (Hannah Tyner) and we adjusted at times.
“We got the hits when we needed the hits. I thought Caroline (Marshall) pitched well and made a big diving catch at the end. I thought Haley (Hicks) played awesome in center field. She ran down a bunch of balls that would have dropped any other night. Big hits by (Kaila) Cooney and Brittany (Ireland). Overall, a team effort. We made the plays when we needed to make plays and got the hits when we needed the hits.”
The Hawks improved to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in league play as Marshall allowed one earned run on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter. She had six strikeouts.
Senior Leanna Whaley was originally planned to be the starter, but complained of soreness in her arm.
She remained in the lineup as the designated player, hitting for Marshall.
“She was sore tonight,” Whitman said. “We’re going to play that by ear.
Kaley Evans was the pitcher of record for the Vikings (3-6, 2-1). In four and two-thirds innings, she
allowed three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, with two strikeouts.
Alexis Howard and Kathryn Elliott each had one hit and one RBI. Hicks had one hit and two runs
scored. Gracyn Slaughter had one hit and one run scored. Whaley and Hayden Smith had one hit apiece.
Samantha Allred had two hits, including a double, and a run scored and Payton Ring had two hits to lead
The Vikings took the early lead when Allred doubled and scored on a base hit from Hannah Tyner in the
top of the first inning.
Cooney, one night after clearing the fence for the first time as a high school player, tied the game in the
bottom of the third with a solo home run just under the scoreboard in right field. After Hicks reached on
an error, Ireland hammered a shot into the trees behind the center field fence to give the Hawks the
The Vikings threatened in the fifth inning when Ring singled and Angel Johnson drew a walk with one
out. But Cooney caught a popped-up sacrifice bunt attempt and threw to Smith, the second baseman
covering first, before Johnson could get back for a double play to retire the side.
Slaughter walked and Hicks singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and both advanced on steals.
Slaughter scored on the throw to first after a dropped third strike and Hicks scored on an Elliott single.
“Kathryn got a big hit there with two outs to get that extra run,” Whitman said.
Cooney walked and Slaughter reached on a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the sixth and advanced on a Hicks sacrifice. Cooney scored on a Howard sacrifice, beating the throw to the plate, but Slaughter and Hicks were each thrown out trying to advance on throws during the play to end the inning.
“We ran ourselves out of it,” Whitman said. “I liked the aggressiveness, but you’ve got to play a little bit smarter sometimes. Those one or two runs could have made a difference.”
Ring singled, Cameron McCutchen doubled and Johnson was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh. But Marshall dove to catch a pop-up for an out, Ireland made a catch in right for another out and Slaughter made a catch in left to end the game.
Triton was scheduled to host Purnell Swett on Monday, but that game has been canceled due to an academic function at Swett on Monday night.
“I hate we’re not going to play Monday, but I hate Monday games anyway,” Whitman said. “We need a practice. I couldn’t tell you the last time we’ve actually been able to practice on the field, due to the weather or back-to-back games or whatever.”
Triton travels to Union Pines on Tuesday and visits nonconference rival Midway on Wednesday.
Vikings produce steady offense
Union Pines (5-4, 1-2) scored in every inning except the seventh on Friday night.
Logan Briggs got on base with a bunt in the top of the first. He stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by East Carolina signee Ryder Giles.
The visitors added four runs off freshman starter Zy McDougald in the second. Ethan Hedgepeth yielded two earned runs in three and two-thirds innings. Colby Parker finished on the mound for the Hawks (1-7, 0-3).
Triton got on the board against Union Pines right-hander Logan Briggs in the third after a walk to Seth Gurkin, who stole second. Grayson Bradham had an RBI single with two out.
Colton Neighbors reached on an error in the fifth and Dalen Thompson followed with an infield hit. Josh McMillan drew a walk to load the bases. Neighbors came in on a passed ball on a third strike.
Bradham went 2-for-4 for Triton. Hedgepeth, Josh Roberts, Gurkin and Thompson had hits.
Giles relieved Briggs on the mound in the fifth. Alex Mauldin pitched the seventh for the Vikings. Briggs had 10 strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings.
“Briggs was very good,” said Triton coach Joey Miriello. “He was throwing 85-87 with a 75 mile per hour slider that he threw for strikes. You’ve got to tip your hat to him.
“We’ve got to do a better job of putting runners on and getting runners in. Defensively, we played pretty well. Zydarius struggled early, obviously, but I thought that the two guys who came in battled for us and did a good job.
“We’re trying to take the positives and build on them, try to learn from the negatives. … We’ve done a good job as far as starting 1-7 of not letting it get us down. The majority of these guys see the big picture and what we’re working towards. Hopefully, we’ll continue to improve. The record doesn’t show it but we can definitely see the improvement.”
Blowbliss, Barnes have two goals each
Freshman Emily Blowbliss and junior Sarah Barnes scored two goals each as Union Pines (7-2, 2-0) won its seventh straight game. The Hawks slipped to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in league play going into a game at Union Pines on Tuesday at 6:30.
Triton’s nonconference match with Cape Fear of Cumberland county has been canceled.