A late surge lifted Smithfield-Selma to an 11-6 varsity baseball win over Triton in the Johnston County Easter Invitational at South Johnston Monday.
“We run out of pitching and then the wheels fall off the bus is basically what seems to happen every game,” said Triton coach Joey Miriello. “We have at least one inning every game where we can’t find the zone or something happens. We battled and look good at times. I’m struggling to put it in words. It’s frustrating. It seems like I’m living in the movie Groundhog Day. Main thing losing this many games is to try and stay positive. There’s no reason to dwell on the negatives. We’ve got to try and build on anything we can. We’re not far off, but we’ve just got to be a little more consistent.”
Reliever Colby Parker was the pitcher of record for the Hawks (1-11). In one and one-third innings, he yielded two earned runs on one hit, one walk and one hit batter, with two strikeouts. Starter Greg Godwin went four innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits and one walk, with four strikeouts.
Cannon Gardner was the winning pitcher for the Spartans (6-6). In three relief innings, he allowed one earned run on three hits, four walks and one hit batter, with two strikeouts.
Colton Neighbors and Christian Tyndall each had two hits, including a double, and two runs scored and Grayson Bradham had two doubles to lead Triton offensively.
Seth Gurkin had one hit and one RBI. Josh Roberts had one hit. Tyler House had one RBI. Dalen Thompson and Austin Riewestahl scored one run apiece.
Corey Branch had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored and Jalyn Lee had two hits, a double and a home run, two RBIs and one run scored to lead SSS.
Spartans catcher Jhon Barilla was hit on the throwing hand by a foul ball early in the contest. He noticeably favored it afterward, but finally was unable to continue and left the game in the fifth inning. Ilmar Ramirez volunteered to move from shortstop to behind the plate, where he performed well.
The game was a back-and-forth battle most of the way. The Hawks scored one run apiece in the second, third and fourth innings and two in the fifth. The Spartans scored one run apiece in the first and third innings, two in the fourth and three in the fifth to take the lead for good.
Smithfield-Selma broke the game open in the sixth inning, scoring four runs, including a two-run bomb from Lee. He had two home runs when SSS played at Triton on March 7.
In the top of the seventh, Riewestahl drew a walk, Roberts singled and Gurkin singled to score Riewestahl. Roberts looked to score from second on a Neighbors single, but was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Jason Estrada to end the game.
Triton will play rival South Johnston Tuesday at noon. The teams met once before at South this season, with the Trojans taking a 5-3 win on March 6.
“First and foremost, we’ve got to find somebody that can pitch,” Miriello said. “Pitching is a little short. But we’ve got to try and stay positive and come out here tomorrow with a positive mindset and try to correct what we did wrong today. You never know. Baseball is a funny game.”