After falling behind 8-0 in the top of the first inning, Triton’s varsity softball team rallied to beat visiting Tri-County Six 3-A Conference foe Southern Lee, 18-8, in six innings and stay unbeaten in conference play Wednesday.
“I don’t know, we just kicked around and didn’t field it right to begin with and they jumped on us,” said Triton coach Mark Whitman. “I don’t care what anybody says, that’s a good little team right there. I knew we’d hit their pitcher tonight. We hit her last night, too (Triton won 8-7 at Southern Lee Tuesday). We just didn’t string together the hits and hit the ball as hard as we did tonight.
“But I told the girls after the first inning, ‘We don’t have to get them all back at one time. We’ve just got to cut it in half and we’ll be fine. We’ll just score every inning.’ Because we’re a good hitting team and everybody does their job. It was a good team effort. It was a good win for us and puts a little further up in the driver’s seat.”
Senior Gracyn Slaughter was the winning pitcher for the Hawks (7-2, 5-0). In five-and-one-third innings of relief, she gave up no earned runs on four hits and no walks, with seven strikeouts.
“Senior leadership,” Whitman said. “Just pops in there and does her job. She had all her stuff working tonight. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Senior Kaila Cooney had three hits, including a double, two RBIs and one run scored, Slaughter had three hits and two runs scored and freshman Aubree Bass had two home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored to lead the Hawks at the plate.
Takyra McLean had three hits and one RBI. Kimah Warren had two hits, two RBIs and one run scored. Tristan Ennis had one hit, one RBI and three runs scored. Gracie Byrd had one hit, one RBI and one run scored. Reagan Bradham had one hit and three runs scored.
Sophomore Ashley Pope had a momentum-shifting grand slam in the bottom of the first and was intentionally walked every time at the plate the rest of the game. She had four RBIs and three runs scored.
“Pretty much one-through-nine hit the ball,” Whitman said. “Ashley’s blistered the ball the past couple of nights. Two doubles last night and a grand slam tonight. Aubree finally got her bat swinging. We worked with her a little bit in the cage before the game. I’m just proud of all the girls tonight.”
The Cavaliers (2-8, 1-5) jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the top of the first, but Triton rallied in the bottom of the inning, scoring eight runs on six hits, two walks and two errors. Pope’s grand slam tied the game 8-8.
“(The grand slam) made a big difference,” Whitman said. “She’s swung the bat good the past two nights.”
It was another home run that gave Triton the lead, as Bass cleared the fence for a two-run homer in the bottom of the second. Triton added two more runs later in the inning to lead 12-8.
Bass homered again, this time a three-run shot, in the bottom of the third.
Triton scored two more in the bottom of the fifth and one in the bottom of the sixth to end the game on the 10-run rule.
Triton is at home against conference and Harnett County rival Western Harnett (4-4, 3-2) on Friday. A win would clinch the conference title and an automatic bid to the 3-A state playoffs for the Hawks.
“We hold our own destiny,” Whitman said. “Friday’s a big game. They’re playing good right now. (Western Harnett coach) Stephen (Hales) has got them doing what they’re supposed to do. We’ll be ready.”