Triton’s undefeated start to the baseball season is explained easily with one glance at the season scores: three games, 36 runs. The Hawks beat county rival Harnett Central 12-1 on Friday in five innings.
Triton’s bats sizzled again, cranking out 12 hits.
But Triton coach Joey Miriello said this year’s 3-0 start goes a little deeper, and a little further back, than just what the Hawks are doing at the plate.
“Our offseason preparation was the most important thing,” Miriello said. “We’ve got senior leaders who set the tone for us offensively so far this year and I think the young guys have caught on and grasped that concept.”
Harnett Central (0-3) struggled with errors, and that was enough to fall behind a veteran Triton team, fourth-year coach Lance Honeycutt said.
“They don’t make mistakes and they hit the ball. We made mistakes early and spotted them runs,” Honeycutt said. “The team that makes the least mistakes wins ball games.”
They said it
“To be the best you’ve got to play the best. If we’re going to play good teams, they’ve got to go out there and play to their level, and not below it. I picked those hard games for a reason and sometimes it bites you in the butt and sometiems you go out there and you do well,” Honeycutt said about his team’s tough schedule.
The Trojans have already played 4A powerhouse Richmond County and have a date with Scotland County before jumping into Greater Neuse River Conference play.
The game changed when Triton's No. 3 hitter Tyler Vaughn laid down a surprise bunt in the first inning. Harnett Central, caught off guard, made a throwing error on the play that let Bailey Tart and Adam Capps score and Vaughn reach third.
“It’s unselfish. That’s my whole team,” Miriello said. “My No. 3 batter comes up, (defending) conference player of the year, and in that situation he knows and wants to get that bunt down.”
Aaron Hedgepeth homered on the next pitch, and the Hawks led 4-0 just four batters into the game.
Three to know
Tyler Vaughn, Triton: Three at-bats and three hits for the reigning Two Rivers 3A player of the year.
Aaron Hedgepeth, Triton: Had two hits and two RBIs including his blast to straightaway center field.
“Our top five hitters will get on, move each other around,” Hedgepeth said. “The bottom of the lineup contributes all the time. We’re a team. We’re a family.”
Anthony Steffenilla, Harnett Central: Drove in the Trojans’ one run, a double in the top of the fifth.
By the numbers
4: Strikeouts and scoreless innings pitched by Triton’s Tanner McLeod.
2: RBIs by Conner Redmond.
1: RBIs by Vaughn, Bailey Tart and Nick Monds.
5: Triton runs scored on Harnett Central miscues (one on passed ball, two on throwing error, two on fielding error).
Out of bounds
It took five pitches for new Harnett Central catcher Ethan Medlin to realize something was off in the bottom of the fourth inning.
As he took time and trotted back to the dugout, he told the crowd he forgot his protective cup.
The wardrobe malfunction took less than a minute to get fixed, and then Medlin caught the rest of the game.