Triton beat the rain and visiting Village Christian on Wednesday evening.
Greg Godwin of the Hawks had a two-out hit in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Zyon Hicks with the winning run in a 9-8 baseball victory over the Knights in the Hawks’ season opener.
The start time was moved up from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. because of showers in the forecast.
Hicks led off the winning inning with a line drive single to left field.
Village pitcher Brady Jones had a pair of strikeouts before Godwin, a junior right-hander who had relieved starter Ethan Hedgepeth with two down in the third, came up with a chance to win his own game.
“I knew off the bat it was a good hit, but I didn’t know if Zyon was going to make it,” Godwin said. “I turned two and I saw him going home. Then I saw the bad throw. As soon as I saw the bad throw, I was like ‘Oh, we got this.’ Got a little happy. Glad we won it.”
Godwin went 3-for-3 at the plate and had five strikeouts on the mound over the last four and one-third innings. Triton coach Joey Miriello cited the success of a small ball approach early on and the unselfishness of Hicks as factors that allowed the Hawks to nip the Knights, a 2-A independent program.
The competitive level of the opposition figures to intensify as Triton hosts South Johnston on Friday night at 7.
Village was charged with four errors and Triton committed three. Miriello felt wet playing conditions were at least partially responsible for the struggles defensively.
“There are some things we need to work on,” Miriello said. “It’s early in the season. We don’t have a set starting lineup. We don’t know who is specifically going to play where defensively or offensively yet, so we’re just trying to learn some things before we get to conference play.”
The Hawks had to overcome deficits of 5-3 and 8-6 on Wednesday.
“We executed well early with the safety squeeze and moving runners over with the bunt,” Miriello said. “We ran the bases aggressively, came up with some big knocks when we needed them. I don’t think ‘Hedge’ had his best stuff on the mound tonight, but he battled for a few innings for us and allowed us to stay in the game.”
Hedgepeth, a sophomore right-hander, went two and two-thirds innings. He allowed three runs, one earned, while walking three and striking out two.
“For the most part, I was pleased,” Miriello said. “We got the hits when we needed them. For the most part, we made the defensive plays. Obviously, under these circumstances where the ground was so wet, I think that was the difference in the ball game as far as them kicking it around a little bit more than we did.
“It’s still too early to tell. I don’t know where we are right now. … Pitching depth is going to be an issue. … We’re young, a lot of new faces.”
Godwin, a junior varsity player in 2017, came through.
“Greg got three big hits and threw strikes on the mound,” Miriello said. “I think Greg is going to contribute well for us this year. He’s a good kid. We wouldn’t have won that game without him.”,
Godwin allowed five runs, two of which were earned. He issued a pair of walks.
“I just came out with the mindset that I could do it,” Godwin said of his call from the bullpen. “You’ve got to be determined to pitch at this high level. If you don’t go out there with the mindset that you’re going to do it, I mean you ain’t got a chance.”
Godwin had two RBIs. Hicks and Tyler House each had two RBIs. Christian Tyndall had an RBI triple in the first inning to score Colton Neighbors with the first run of the season for the Hawks. Tyndall drove in two runs.
Freshman shortstop Dalen Thompson had a hit, an RBI and scored twice. Catcher Grayson Bradham had a hit. Neighbors had an infield hit before scoring.
“I was pleased with Zyon Hicks’ hustle tonight,” Miriello said. “He executed and played a lot of unselfish ball, getting that safety squeeze down, … and coming up with the big leadoff hit (in the seventh) and scoring.”