Moe Barbour has a succinct philosophy on batting, whether it be in softball or baseball.
“You can get all the hits you want,” he says, “but if you don’t get the timely hits, then it doesn’t matter.”
His Garner softball team didn’t get the timely hit in every instance the Trojans were at the plate, but it get enough in claiming a 2-0 Greater Neuse River 4A Conference victory over East Wake Friday.
The Trojans put together three-hit innings in the first and third frames, pushing across a run in each, in moving into first place in the GNRC with a 4-1 record, while improving to 8-2 overall.
Conversely, East Wake coach Melissa Bell had her own thought about hitting — or the lack of it — as the Warriors fell to 5-3-1 overall and 4-2 in conference action.
“You can’t win big games, “ Bell said, “Or really any games at all with just one hit. We got a lead-off hit (to open the game), and that was it - the only time one help is when it goes over the fence.”
Pacing the attack at the plate for the Trojans was Kelsey Bryan, who enjoyed a 3-for-3 effort and scoring the only run that would matter.
That run came when Bryan stroked a one-out single to left, moving to second on a single by Alisha Josie and scoring on a two-out, RBI-single to left by Bridgette Kirkland.
Bryan aided the Trojans’ third-inning effort when she laid down a sacrifice bunt and beat the throw to first in moving Brooke Kamphuis, who had opened the inning with a double, to third. Kamphuis scored on a sacrifice bunt by Josie (2-for-2 for the game).
While Barbour was happy with those efforts, he frowned a little on stranding two runners on base in the first, third and fifth innings.
“One thing we didn’t do consistently tonight,” Barbour said, “Was we didn’t hit well with men on base. We had three innings when we left two runners on base; we didn’t get many timely hits.”
However, Barbour had heavenly praise for Bryan.
“I’ve compared Kelsey to God,” Barbour said. “God is always good, and Kelsey is always good - no matter what sport she plays. Whether it be volleyball, basketball, softball, whatever.
“She’s been hot with the bat all year. She’s clutch and she’s consistent, and is going to be a tough one to replace when she graduates this year.”
While Bryan and Josie were pacing the Trojans at the plate, Lauren Marbrey handcuffed the Warriors following Megan Fullwood’s leadoff single, striking out three batters while walking one.
The Trojans set the tone for Marbrey’s domination, with catcher Courtney Barbour throwing out Fullwood two pitches into Annabeth Watkins’ at-bat, which immediately followed Fullwood’s single.
“Lauren pitched well and defensively we played well,” Barbour said. “”We’re still trying to get our catcher into full strength - this is only the second game she has played.
“She played three the other night, and played four tonight.”
Bell said the Warriors had difficulty with Marbrey’s outside pitches and rise balls.
“There were a lot of curve balls,” Bell said, “From what I could tell and what I could see. She did a great job; she pitched a great game.
“We’re going to have to work on that on Monday and again on Tuesday before we play them again (at East Wake) Tuesday night.”
Madison Swiger absorbed the pitching loss, striking out six batters while walking one and surrendering eight hits.