Hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2014, No. 15 Triton’s varsity baseball team won a 12-2 rout in six innings over visiting No. 18 Scotland in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A state baseball playoffs Tuesday.
“The boys rise up to the challenge,” said Triton coach David Reece. “Anthony (Jones), that’s great senior leadership coming out and pitching one heck of a game. It started with him. We had a little bit of a mishap in the first inning, but they bounced right back and everything was clicking all night, it seemed like.”
Senior Anthony Jones pitched the complete game win for the Hawks (21-4), giving up one earned run on four hits and one walk, with four strikeouts.
Senior Jackson Lanier had two hits and three RBIs, sophomore Will Meredith had two hits and two RBIs and senior Ross Stevens had two hits, including a triple, one RBI and three runs scored to lead Triton at the plate.
Jones had two hits, including a home run, one RBI and one run scored. Wyatt Avery had one hit, two RBIs and one run scored. Xander Johnson had one hit and two runs scored. Kenny McKoy had two runs scored. Jalen Evans had one RBI and one run scored. Brayden Bates and Hayden Campbell scored one run apiece.
“One thing I told the guys before the game is, ‘We need to get people on base, put the ball in play and put pressure on their defense,’” Reece said. “We were able to move on the base paths, steal some bases, get some runners in motion and score some runs.”
Senior Alex Hatcher had a home run, senior Luke Taylor had one hit and one run scored and freshman Dawson Williams and senior Cadyn Graves had one hit apiece for the Fighting Scots (15-9).
Scotland got on the board in the top of the first inning when Taylor had a two-out base hit and scored when Hatcher reached on an error.
Triton did damage with two out in the bottom of the second. Stevens drew a walk and Meredith had a base hit. Stevens scored when McKoy reached on an error that put Campbell, the courtesy runner for Meredith, on third and McKoy on second. Avery followed with a base hit to score Campbell and McKoy and took second on an error. After Evans reached on another error, Lanier drove in Avery and Evans with another hit.
Jones led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run. Johnson reached on an error and scored on a triple from Stevens, who scored on a balk.
In the top of the fifth, McKoy drew a walk, stole second, reached third on an error and scored on a base hit from Lanier.
Hatcher had a solo home run for Scotland in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jones and Johnson each had base hits and Stevens drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Bates, running for Jones, and Johnson scored on a base hit from Meredith and Stevens scored when Evans reached on an error to end the game on the 10-run rule.
Triton travels to No. 2 Orange (23-2) for the second round of the playoffs on Friday.
“Feed off the energy,” Reece said. “We’re not the type of team that looks back on previous games. We look forward. We know what we have to do, what we want to do and how we play Triton baseball. We just have to make sure we execute both at the plate and in the field.”