Host South Johnston came back from a 4-0 deficit to edge Triton 5-4 as Clayton Blackmon scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the seventh-place game of the Johnston County Easter Invitational on Tuesday.
“It’s always good to get a win on he last day of the tournament,” said South baseball coach Aaron Parnell. “We get to go into break with a win.”
Blackmon singled to start South’s half of the ninth. A bunt single by Kyle Raulerson put runners at first and second. As Blackmon slid into third on a steal attempt, the throw got away and he was able to score.
That made Javier Amexquita a winner. The senior right-hander held the Hawks scoreless over the last five innings.
“Javier threw the ball great for us today in relief,” Parnell said. “He came in and attacked hitters and got the job done.”
Freshman right-hander Zy McDougald started and pitched into the seventh for Triton (1-12).
“Zy enabled us to be in the situation we were,” said Triton coach Joey Miriello. “A freshman to be in this atmosphere and this situation against that team to throw the way he did speaks volumes of his future.”
The Hawks were topped 11-6 by Smithfield-Selma on Monday.
“I thought we battled today,” Miriello said. “We could have easily come out here and hung our heads, considering the way we played yesterday — how that transpired. We’ll just chalk this up as another learning experience. Once again, more positives than negatives.
“It could have went either way. It just seems like we don’t get the big hit when we need it or get the bounce when we need it.”
Triton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after Grayson Bradham drew a two-out walk. Josh McMillan had an infield single before walks to Christian Tyndall and Ethan Hedgepeth forced in a run.
Seth Gurkin, who finished on the mound for the Hawks, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the third to put Triton ahead 2-0.
The Hawks added a pair of runs in the fourth as a hit and run by Dalen Thompson scored Colton Neighbors. Zyon Hicks had a sacrifice fly that brought in Thompson following walks to Bradham and McMillan.
Jackson Raynor had an RBI single for South in the fourth to score Drew Moore, who had walked. Brayden Kauppi, who was running for catcher Josh Schindler, came in on an error as the Trojans trimmed Triton’s lead to 4-2.
Aubrey Pollard came into the game for ailing Grant Millay and had a run-scoring single with two down in the fifth. The Trojans got the tying run as Moore trotted in on a balk call.
Thompson, a freshman playing shortstop, had two hits, scored a run and had an RBI for Triton. Thompson drew two of the eight walks for the Hawks.
South (7-6) hosts West Johnston in a Greater Neuse 3-A Conference contest on Tuesday, April 10. Triton has a nonconference game at home with Jack Britt on Monday, April 9.
JOHNSTON COUNTY EASTER INVITATIONAL
Bunn 19, Smithfield-Selma 2
Clayton 6, Triton 4
Western Harnett 6, Cleveland 4
Wake Forest 4, South Johnston 2
Noon — Smithfield-Selma 11, Triton 6
2:30 p.m. — Cleveland 8, South Johnston 6 (8 innings)
5 p.m. — Bunn 7, Clayton 0
7:30 p.m. — Wake Forest 11, Western Harnett 1 (6 innings)
Seventh place — South Johnston 5, Triton 4 (9 innings)
Fifth place — Cleveland 10, Smithfield-Selma 4
Third place — Clayton 16, Western Harnett 5 (5 innings)
Championship — Bunn 7, Wake Forest 5