Triton took a pair of one-run victories over visiting Tri-County Six 3-A Conference foe Union Pines in baseball and softball on Tuesday.
After rallying from a 5-1 deficit with a four-run sixth inning, sophomore Reagan Bradham scored on a sacrifice fly from junior Gracyn Slaughter in the bottom of the seventh to lift Triton’s softball team to a 6-5 win over Union Pines.
“Absolutely hitting is contagious,” said Triton softball coach Mark Whitman. “When one rolls, they all roll. That’s how it is. We got in a little trouble there early. Gracyn was doing good (pitching) for three or four innings and I think she got a little tired and I maybe left her in there an inning too long. But I just told the girls, ‘You’ve got to hit the ball. There’s no reason we can’t hit the ball. One run at a time. We don’t have to get them all back at one time.’ And hitting is contagious. When one hits, they all hit. I’m proud of the girls. Total team effort tonight. I can’t ask for any more. That’s a big game for us. We lose that game, it could have haunted us.”
One night after absorbing a loss as a starter against Cleveland, Triton senior Caroline Marshall bounced back to take a win as a reliever against Union Pines on Tuesday. In two and one-thirds innings, Marshall yielded no runs on one hit and one walk, with three strikeouts.
“Caroline came in and pitched outstanding,” Whitman said. “They’re (Marshall and Slaughter) a one-two punch, or a two-one punch. I don’t truly have a No. 1. They’re both the No. 1 when they want to pitch.”
Junior Kaila Cooney had three hits, including a triple, one RBI and one run scored to lead the Hawks (2-2, 2-0 TCSC) at the plate.
“She’s a hitter,” Whitman said. “She’s one of the best in the county. She’s one of the best in the state of North Carolina. I’d put her against anybody.”
Gracie Byrd had one hit, two RBIs and one run scored. Jackie Upperman had one hit and one RBI. Jada Horne had one hit and one run scored. Kimah Warren had one hit. Slaughter and Brittany Ireland each had one RBI and one run scored. Bradham scored once.
Freshman Marissa Fuller had three hits and two runs scored and junior Kaitlyn Richardson had two hits and two runs scored to lead the Vikings (1-2, 0-1).
Triton took the initial lead when Horne led off the bottom of the first with a base hit, advanced when Bradham reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a base hit from Cooney.
Fuller and Richardson led off the top of the fourth with back-to-back base hits, advanced on a ground ball from Marti Maloof and scored on a base hit from Skylar Stewart to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
With two out in the top of the fifth, Fuller and Richardson again had back-to-back hits. Fuller scored on a base hit from Kaley Evans and Richardson and Evans scored on a triple from Maloof to extend the lead to 5-1.
Cooney led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple and scored when Ireland reached on an error. After Slaughter drew a walk, she and Ireland advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit from Byrd, who took second on the throw home from the outfield. She then scored the tying run on a base hit from Upperman.
Bradham led off the bottom of the seventh by reaching on an error and Cooney followed with a base hit. Bradham took third on a fly ball from Ireland and scored the game-winner on another fly ball from Slaughter, narrowly beating the tag.
On the baseball field, Triton picked up its first win of the season, and the first under first-year head coach Jacob Willis, by edging Union Pines 4-3 behind strong pitching performances from senior Ethan Hedgepeth and junior Carson Tart.
“It always feels good to get that first W,” Willis said. “Ethan Hedgepeth went out there and threw a heck of a ball game. Carson Tart came in and closed the door. We had a lot better at-bats today. We had some guys show up that had been struggling and some things started to come together.”
Hedgepeth, the starter, went six innings to collect the win on the mound for the Hawks (1-2, 1-1), giving up no earned runs on three hits and two walks, with nine strikeouts. Tart pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the save.
“It’s something we can build on moving forward,” Willis said. “A senior (Hedgepeth) steps out there and throws six complete. That’s something we can work on. That’s something we can build on. He came out and threw the best I’ve seen him throw in a long, long time. Hopefully we can keep that going, moving forward.”
Junior Dalen Thompson had two hits, including a double to lead Triton.
Josh Jackson had a double and a run scored. Spencer Johnson had one hit and one run scored. Hedgepeth and Payden Crews had one hit apiece. Sam Capps had two runs scored.
“Dalen Thompson had a good approach to the plate and kept his hitting going,” Willis said. “Josh Jackson broke out of his little slump. Everybody did a little something tonight. It was one of those nights where we put pressure on the defense, which is something we did different than in the last two games.”
Hudson Fette and Chance Purvis each had one hit and one run scored, Jonathan Foster had one hit and Bryson Horney scored once for the Vikings (1-1, 0-1).
Capps scored in the first inning, Jackson and Capps each scored in the second and Johnson scored the difference-maker in the fourth.
Purvis scored in the second inning and Fette and Horney each scored in the fourth for the Vikings.
Both schools continue conference play on Friday, when Union Pines hosts Western Harnett and Triton travels to Southern Lee.