South Johnston and visiting Triton got their nonconference varsity baseball and softball games in on Tuesday despite showers.
Triton took a 6-0 win in the softball contest as Caroline Marshall turned in a complete game for the Hawks (3-0).
South (1-1) was a 5-3 winner at Bruce Coats Field in baseball as Triton slipped to 1-1 going into a home game with Smithfield-Selma on Wednesday night at 7.
The Hawks’ junior varsity baseball team will host South Johnston on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Christian Tyndall and Matthew Dunn pitched three innings each for the Hawks at South. Charleston Southern signee Grant Millay started for the Trojans and went four innings.
Drew Moore of South hit a two-run homer in the third for a 3-1 lead and the Trojans maintained the upper hand.
Colton Neighbors went 1-for-2 and stole two bases for Triton. Ethan Hedgepeth had a sacrifice fly and walked twice. Tyler House and Dalen Thompson each had hits for the Hawks.
“Under the circumstances (cold and rainy) against a team of that ability, we really competed,” said Triton coach Joey Miriello. “We’re getting better. As young and inexperienced as we are, that’s all you can hope for. If we continue to improve, we’ll be competitive. This isn’t the same group as two weeks ago.”
Millay allowed one run in picking up the win. Aubrey Pollard had another solid outing on the mound as he allowed one run and struck out five in two innings.
The Hawks had the bases loaded with one out and had scored one run in the seventh, but Dylan Honeycutt got the save.
Millay was 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored. Moore finished 2-for-4 with a double, homer and two RBIs. Jacob Norris went 2-for-2 for South. Kyle Raulerson went 1-for-1 and stole two bases.
“It was tough conditions, but both teams played very well,” said Trojans coach Aaron Parnell. “It’s the first time we have put together good pitching, defense and timely hitting; a competitive game to the end.”
No junior varsity games were played on Tuesday.
The South baseball team is scheduled to host Bunn on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Marshall pitches ‘lights out’
Marshall, a sophomore, allowed five hits, walked two and struck out seven in seven innings.
“We took advantage of situations,” said Triton coach Mark Whitman. “We hit when we needed to hit, but we left a lot on base, too. We probably should have scored more than we did, I think. But, as this team’s done, we hit the ball when we needed to hit it, we made the defensive plays when we needed to make the defensive plays and I thought Caroline pitched lights out. She pitched probably the best game she’s pitched in her career. That’s a big win for a sophomore. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
South coach Amanda Miller faulted her club’s mindset.
“I think the most frustrating thing is, some of us, our mindset was different before we ever got out here,” Miller said. “I think after the first inning, we had mindsets that were not necessarily positive, because we were sitting with the weight on our shoulders instead of being on top. I had some effort plays and I’m not going to necessarily say we weren’t in it, but I think our heads were just out. A physical mistake, I’m OK with, but mentally, you have to be stronger. And I don’t think mentally we were very strong tonight.”
Marshall had command of her pitches.
“My curveball was working pretty well today,” she said. “And my change-up was working for the first time this season. I worked really hard in the offseason to get here. At first, I was kind of nervous with it raining, but I just had to keep the ball dry.”
Junior Logan Blackmon had a solid relief effort for the Trojans (1-1), giving up no runs on four hits and one walk, with two strikeouts.
“Right now I’ve got three pitchers (Blackmon, Carmen Keene and Savannah Lockamy),” Smith said. “We’re trying to find a rotation that works and we’re only two games in. Finding the chemistry and finding the rotation that’s going to work is what’s going to be the factor. A trio like we’ve got, it’s just finding the right combo.”
When Triton traveled to South Johnston last season, Marshall and Blackmon pitched a dual complete game shutout in a 0-0 junior varsity tie.
Sophomore Brittany Ireland led the Hawks at the plate for the second straight night, with two hits, including a double, four RBIs and two runs scored.
Alexis Howard had two hits, including a double, and two runs scored. Kaila Cooney had two hits, including a double, and a run scored. Gracyn Slaughter had two hits and a run scored. Haley Hicks had one hit and two runs scored. Kathryn Elliott had one hit.
Junior Carmen Keene had a pair of hits to lead South, Katie Mitchell had a double and Kandis Adams and Koler Ellis had one hit apiece.
“I thought we were very passive at the plate,” Smith said. “Caroline’s a good movement pitcher. You can’t take anything away from her, she threw very, very well. But we just were not ready to hit. We were trying to guess what she was going to throw and not reacting. You have to react. You can’t be a guessing hitter and be consistent.”
Triton sent the entire order to the plate in the top of the first inning. Cooney led off the game with a double, Slaughter singled and Hicks drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Cooney scored on an error when Howard hit into a fielder’s choice, leaving the bases loaded with no outs. Ireland cleared the bags with a double that scored Slaughter, Hicks and Howard for a 4-0 lead.
“Kaila Cooney’s a good lead-off batter,” Whitman said. “She puts the ball in play, whether it’s a base hit or a line drive. Then the next four or five hitters are pretty good hitters and I’m good with any of them coming to bat when it’s time to do their job.”
Marshall said the hot offensive start helped her when it was time for defense.
“It gets you hyped to pitch,” Marshall said. “It makes you feel like your team is behind you already before you even hit the field.”
Hicks singled to lead off the seventh and Howard followed with a double. After Hicks scored on a wild pitch, Ireland singled to score Howard.
Marshall retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh, including back-to-back strikeouts to finish the game.
South Johnston is at home against Corinth Holders (1-1) Thursday and at Union Pines (0-2) Friday. Triton hosts rival Midway (1-0) Friday.