One night after winning at home against rival Triton, South Johnston’s varsity softball team took a 4-0 shutout win at Triton on Tuesday.
“It was a great night for the whole team,” said South Johnston junior Kennedy Byrd. “We played great defense. Last night the defense was kind of off and on. Hitting was kind of off and on, but all around we all did good.”
South Johnston coach Ashley Ennis was happy to see the improvement in the Trojans’ defense.
“Before we came over here we worked on us a little bit defensively,” coach Ennis said. “We moved some people around to find that spark. We just needed to find some life on defense and we played well tonight. That’s the best we’ve played on defense all year. Overall defense is what won the night.”
Triton coach Mark Whitman said his team also improved defensively, but the difference was South getting timely hits that Triton didn’t.
“We just didn’t get the hits we needed to get,” Whitman said. “We played better defensively. That’s for sure. We got better in that aspect. I thought Gracyn (Slaughter) pitched a great game. They got the hits when they needed to get the hits. South’s a good team. We just didn’t hit when we needed the hits. That’s the bottom line.
“We’re going to get better. We’ve just got to believe in the process and we’ll get better. A few things to work on. We’re not quite there yet. It’s a work in progress. None of this means anything other than to get better with the losses, because nonconference means nothing this year. You’ve got to win the conference games.”
Sophomore Allie Stewart was the pitcher of record for the Trojans (2-1). In four innings, she allowed no runs on five hits and one walk, with two strikeouts. Junior Kennedy Byrd pitched three innings of relief to record the save, giving up no runs on one hit and one walk, with four strikeouts.
“Allie did a great job in the first four innings and then Kennedy came in and kind of closed the deal,” coach Ennis said.
Senior Gracyn Slaughter pitched all seven innings for the Hawks (0-2), yielding four earned runs on nine hits and one walk, with nine strikeouts.
Kennedy Byrd either scored or drove in all four of South Johnston’s runs. She went 3-for-3 at the plate, including a triple and a home run, had two RBIs and scored three runs.
“She had a great night at the plate,” coach Ennis said. “You can’t ask much more than that. And then she came in on the mound and finished off a great start by Allie.”
“Usually whenever something like this happens I just feel like I go more confident into the other games,” Kennedy Byrd said. “I have more confidence in myself whenever I’m hitting and pitching and other stuff.”
Meagan Worley had two hits, including a triple, and one RBI. Hollyn Champagne had one hit and one run scored. Emma Cashwell, Tori James and Kealey Wade had one hit apiece.
Gracie Byrd had two hits to lead Triton and Takyra McLean, Kimah Warren, Aubree Bass and Tristan Ennis had one hit apiece.
Triton got at least one runner on base in every inning except the fifth, but was not able to bring any of them home, including leaving five stranded in scoring position.
Kennedy Byrd singled with two out in the top of the first and scored on a triple from Worley. She scored again in the third on a wild pitch after reaching on a triple.
Champagne singled in the fifth inning and Kennedy Byrd followed with a two-run home run over center.
South Johnston is at home against Princeton and Triton is at home against Smithfield-Selma on Thursday.