It quickly became apparent when North Johnston hosted South Johnston in a nonconference softball game Friday night that run production was not going to be a problem.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, that production turned out to be one-sided as the Panthers (4-1) first spotted South Johnston a three-run lead before exploding for a baker’s dozen of their own run production in a 13-3 win.
After allowing three runs in the top of the first inning, North Johnston starting pitcher Lexi Godwin allowed just a pair of singles in the final four innings.
In addition to routinely getting ahead of hitters as the game progressed, Panthers coach Chris Batten suggested the team’s response of two runs in the bottom of the opening frame was as instrumental in aiding Godwin.
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“We came in and gave her support and got a couple runs back and that’s always good to help a pitcher and get a couple of them back at least,” North Johnston coach Chris Batten said. “Once she started getting ahead in the count, it kind of helped her out and she settled down.”
Kandis Adams and Mackenzie Honeycutt each provided an RBI single in the first inning for the Trojans and Honeycutt scored on a fielder’s choice but Godwin stopped South Johnston (2-4) in its tracks the rest of the way.
Three to watch
Olivia Stewart, North Johnston: Stewart went 3-for-3 at the plate and drove in three runs. The senior third baseman singled home a run in the fourth inning and then laced a shot over the leftfield fence for a two-run homer in the fifth.
Lexi Godwin, North Johnston: Godwin earned her first win of the season only after recovering from a three-hit, three-run start to the game for the visiting Trojans. During one stretch, Godwin retired eight of nine batters, striking out three and walking just one in five innings.
McKinley Johnson, South Johnston: The senior shortstop doubled to set the tone in the top of the first inning for the Trojans and crossed home plate for the game’s first run. She also recorded four putouts.
They said it
“We started out of the gate, the gas pedal’s on but then we let up a little bit,” said South Johnston coach Amanda Smith. “We’ve got to come together. We’re playing good ball in key innings and then we’re having an inning (when we don’t) but we’re going to bounce back.”
By the numbers
30: Hits accumulated by the Panthers at the plate in a week in which they totaled 28 runs in three games for three victories.
4: North Johnston players with multiple hit games. In addition to Stewart, Emma Turner also churned out three hits while driving in a pair of runs; Taylor Narron singled, doubled and plated three runs; and Jada Santiago went 2-for-2 at the plate.
2: Double plays turned on the night, one for each club. Third baseman Carmen Keene turned the play for South Johnston, first touching third base for a force out before firing over to first in the bottom of the fourth. North Johnston’s Olivia Narron started an impressive 6-4-3 double play in the fifth, going deep in the hole at short before firing to Taylor Narron who turned and beat Mackenzie Honeycutt to first with her throw.
11: Number of opposing hitters Godwin started off with a strike between the second and fifth innings.
0: Times South Johnston moved a runner into scoring position in the game’s final four innings.