South Johnston’s varsity softball team kept itself in the hunt for the playoffs with a 3-0 shutout win over visiting Greater Neuse 3-A Conference and Johnston County rival West Johnston on Senior Night Tuesday.
“Kennedy (Byrd) pitched a solid seven innings for us and we made some good plays defensively,” said South Johnston softball coach Ashley Ennis. “They hit the ball a few times and we had a couple of little boo boos, but Kennedy worked her way out of it and kept them from scoring. That’s a great shutout victory and it takes all nine of them out there to play good defense. We left a lot on base, but we hit the ball solid there toward the end.”
Junior Kennedy Byrd pitched the complete game shutout for the Trojans (7-4, 5-2 GNC), giving up no runs on three hits and no walks, with 13 strikeouts.
Freshman Brianna Donnelly pitched the complete game for the Wildcats, yielding three earned runs on 11 hits and no walks, with four strikeouts.
Senior Kylie Lee was 3-for-3 at the plate and had two runs scored and junior Tori James had two hits, including a double, one RBI and one run scored to lead South offensively.
“Kylie Lee came through big tonight,” Ennis said. “Just a senior leader tonight. Ran the bases well and hit the ball hard all night long. That’s what you want on Senior Night.”
Emma Cashwell had two hits. Katon Blackmon had one hit and one RBI. Kennedy Byrd, Hollyn Champagne and Kealey Wade had one hit apiece.
The bottom of the order (Lee, James and Blackmon) combined to produce all three of South’s runs.
“The bottom of the lineup came up big,” Ennis said. “As a coach you love that when the girls down there get it going and pick up the ones at the top if they don’t have it going.”
Sophomore Olivia Walker had two hits, including a double, and freshman Madelyn Synoracki had a double for West.
Prior to the game, South Johnston honored three seniors: Caroline Mazzotta, Katon Blackmon and Kylie Lee.
In the bottom of the second inning, Lee had a base hit, advanced on hits from James and Cashwell and scored on a wild pitch.
In the fourth, James had a base hit and scored on a double from James, who scored on a base hit from Blackmon.
West wins girls soccer
West Johnston shut out South Johnston 9-0 in girls soccer.
The Wildcats improved to 5-6 overall and 5-2 in conference and the Trojans dropped to 0-10 and 0-7.
South Johnston travels to conference and county rival Smithfield-Selma for soccer and softball on Thursday.
“I’ve told the girls I think we need to win out to give ourselves a pretty good shot to make the playoffs,” Ennis said. “And who knows? Maybe a three-way tie at the top of the conference if we can beat Cleveland again. We feel like we are in the playoffs already, pretty much.”