North Johnston used two big innings, solid pitching and a few errors from Hunt to take a 6-3 road baseball victory on Monday.
The Panthers (2-0), ranked No. 9 in The News & Observer area top 25, were led by pitcher Dylan Radford. The starter got the win, going five innings with just two earned runs, three hits and seven strikeouts.
He also helped his own cause at the plate with a two-RBI single in the second inning. Holden Hales singled in two more in the third to grow a 5-0 lead after three.
Steven Worley moved from first base to the mound to get the save for the Panthers. He struck out three in two innings and allowed just one hit – the only ball that left the infield.
“He came in and he just shut it down,” North Johnston coach Brian Ford said. “I kind of like to pitch Steven after Dylan because Dylan’s more of a three-quarters (release) kind of guy and Steven comes over the top and it gives (the hitters) a different look. And Steven is outstanding one time through the order.”
Hunt (1-3) scored three in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to two runs. Josh Fuller singled in Parker Garris and Connor Griffin doubled to score Hunter Barnes and Fuller.
But the Warriors only got one base runner in the next three innings.
“Those losses didn’t mean as much as they do now,” Hunt coach Jonathan Smith said. “You want to win, you want to win early.”
The Warriors had three errors, two that brought runs in for North Johnston. Hunt pitcher Neal Lewis went six innings in the loss.
“The pitching’s been fine,” Smith said. “Defensively, we’ve got some work to do.”