All three teams went 1-1 on the first day of the Harnett Central Spring Break Softball Tournament on Tuesday as the first game saw host Harnett Central fall to Charles B. Aycock, which dropped game two to Princeton, which was edged in the final game by Central.
Central rallied late, with five runs in the final two innings. Senior Alexis Carroll scored the game-winner in a 6-5 win over Princeton.
“We were able to keep the ball low so the defense could make plays on the ball,” said Central coach Lauren Taylor. “And it’s really important when you can get that leadoff hitter of an inning (Carroll in the seventh) on. It allows you to set up and be able to move her into scoring position and wait for the girls to get some timely hits.”
Junior Fallon Wimberly pitched the complete game win for the Trojans (8-5), yielding three earned runs on 10 hits and no walks, with three strikeouts.
“She was able to keep the ball low and hit the corners and was successful with it,” Taylor said. “The defense played behind her for the most part and we were able to keep the runs scored to a minimum.”
Senior Casey Mitchell, after picking up a complete game win against the Golden Falcons (10-3), was also the pitcher of record as a reliever against the Trojans. She gave up one earned run on two hits across one inning. Starter Graclyn Massey went five and two-thirds innings, yielding five earned runs on seven hits and two walks, with two strikeouts.
Wimberly had three hits and two RBIS and Carroll had three hits, including a double and a triple, and three runs scored to lead Central at the plate.
Shelbie Gill had one hit and two RBIs. Ansley Lee had one hit and one run scored. Tanner Williford had one hit. Michaela Cabe and Brittany Mills scored one run apiece.
Brianna Myers had three hits, including a double, two RBIs and a run scored, Megan Bryant had two hits, including a double, one RBI and one run scored and Hailey Woodall had two hits and two runs scored to lead Princeton.
Successfully getting bunts down was a big key for the Trojans.
“There’s a lot of difference having a runner on second vs on first,” Taylor said. “They can score from second. First makes you usually have to have two hits before you can score.”
Bryant led off the game with a base hit, took third on an error on a Woodall sacrifice and scored on a base hit from Myers.
Central answered in the bottom of the first inning when Carroll doubled, took third on a Lyndsey Brewer bunt (Brewer reached safely because no one was covering first base) and scored on a sacrifice fly from Wimberly.
Princeton reclaimed the lead in the third when Woodall singled and scored on an error on a Myers single.
Reanna Braswell doubled in the top of the fourth and scored on a Bryant double to push the lead to 3-1.
Central sent the entire order to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Carroll led off with a triple and scored on a base hit from Wimberly. After Kolby Medlin drew a walk, Lee singled to load the bases with two outs before a hit from Gill scored Mills, running for Medlin, and Cabe, running for Wimberly. After a wild pitch put Gill on third, Amaya Bell walked and stole second. But Mitchell was brought in and threw just one pitch to get out of the inning with a pop-up to first.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Woodall singled and scored on a Myers double. On her lone at-bat of the game, Mitchell doubled to score Myers to tie the game. Wimberly rallied with a strikeout to retire the side.
Carroll led off the bottom of the inning with her third hit of the day and took second on a Brewer sacrifice. A Wimberly single moved Carroll to third. Wimberly was thrown out trying to take second on a throw to home to keep Carroll in place. But after the tag to Wimberly, Carroll noticed the defense out of position and not watching her and raced home, beating the throw to the plate.
“A veteran on the bases, she was able to see once the girl turned her back and was able to sneak on in,” Taylor said.
Unfortunately for Central, the throw home was high and after the catcher jumped to catch it, her foot came down on Carroll’s hand, injuring it. Her status is uncertain.
In the first game of the day, Aycock scored four runs in the sixth inning to top Central, 10-6.
Carroll also led the Trojans in that game, going 3-for-3, with one RBI and two runs scored.
Williford had two hits and one RBI. Kylee Frailey had two hits and two runs scored. Wimberly had one hit, one RBI and one run scored. Medlin had one hit and one RBI. Gill had one hit and one run scored. Brewer had one RBI.
Abbey Thomas had three hits, including a double, two RBIs and two runs scored, Georgia Parnell had three hits and three runs scored and Taylor Puetz had a pair of home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored to lead the Falcons.
Aycock scored two runs apiece in the first, third and fourth innings and four in the sixth. Central scored two runs in the first inning and four in the fifth.
In the second game, Princeton took a walk-off 6-4 win over Aycock on a Braswell double.
Mitchell nearly took the first pitch out of the park in the bottom of the seventh, hitting the top of the fence for a double and was bunted over to third. After Emily Ricks drew a two-out walk and stole second, Braswell, much like Mitchell, just missed clearing the fence, but her double allowed Mitchell and Ricks to score for the win.
Weather permitting, day two of the tournament starts at 11 a.m. with Triton facing Princeton. Harnett Central will meet C.B. Aycock again at 1 p.m.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re keeping the ball low and hitting the corners,” Taylor said. “We need to score runners whenever we have the chance available. I think we had an issue where we couldn’t get the ball down and score our runners in that C.B. Aycock game and lost a couple of opportunities. As long as we take care of our jobs and play to our roles, we’ll be fine.”