No. 17 Topsail 7 No. 24 Triton 1
Coming off back-to-back road wins to open the postseason, the resurgent Pirates have come alive in the 3A playoffs and used another strong performance by senior Payton Rice on Wednesday night as No. 17 Topsail grabbed a 7-1 result against No. 24 Triton.
Playing for the first time at home during the tournament, the Pirates grabbed an early lead and rode the right arm of Rice to the fourth round of the bracket.
Rice allowed just one run on two hits, with one walk and five strikeouts to move to 9-1 on the mound this season. Early on, the righty used a little extra juice on his fastball to record four strikeouts through three innings of work. After the Pirates jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Rice filled the zone and pitched to contact.
“I couldn’t have asked for better defensive fielding behind me,” said Rice. “I was just trying to attack with all three pitches and trying not to hold anything back. Usually I try to use my curveball a lot more, but didn’t have it tonight and just threw it to keep them off balanced. I was relying on my changeup and two-seam fastball and trying to locate those pitches.”
Sam Hall paced the Topsail lineup. The junior third baseman went 3-for-4, with two runs scored. Aaron Beach finished with three walks and one RBI, while Bryce Cota reached base three times in four at-bats.
With a 3-0 cushion, Beach drew a bases loaded walk in the fifth and Garrett Myrka capped a three-run sixth with a 2RBI single to right center. Cam Kimrey also crossed the plate twice in the nine slot.
“After some tough games early on this season, we struggled to get back on track,” said Topsail Coach Chris Blake. “But, after getting a win against West Brunswick on the final day of the regular season and hit playoffs here, the guys are gelling. We’re meshing and it’s a good feeling right here.”
No. 17 Topsail grabbed their fifth straight win to improve to 18-9 overall. The Pirates head to No. 5 Orange in the fourth round of the state tournament on Friday, May 20. Orange defeated No. 13 South Johnston 6-3 to advance in the bracket.
Box score R H E
Triton 000 100 0 1 2 2
Topsail 030 013 X 7 9 2
WP: Payton Rice LP: Logan Bender
Topsail softball rolls to third round playoff win
No. 3 Topsail 10 No. 6 Northern Nash 1
The Topsail softball team is one win away from reaching its second straight east regional series as the Pirates rolled to a 10-1 victory against Northern Nash on Wednesday night in Hampstead.
Junior Victoria Elder continued her dominating presence in the circle, while the Topsail lineup recorded 10 total hits to improve to 24-3 overall.
“We have such a well-rounded team from top to bottom,” said Topsail Coach Jay Abston. “We have to have all aspects of the game to reach our way. We put up 10 runs tonight, but also have the ability to play small ball when we need to. This team is unified and the amount of time spent together on this field is a big reason why.”
The Pirates wasted no time to get on the board and plated two runs in their first at-bat on three hits. Elder and Hayley Grizzle each picked up an RBI to give Topsail a 2-0 lead.
Grizzle laced a run scoring triple in the fourth and Maddy Lester drove in her teammate in the next at-bat with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
The run support was all Elder needed on the stripe. She struck out the side in the third and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Northern Nash ended her shutout bid in the fifth. Elder closed the effort with eight strikeouts, allowing just one run on three hits.
“Victoria is where it starts,” Abston added. “Hitting her location is the biggest thing and making plays behind her. We got a little too relaxed out there after getting the lead and can’t do that. But, you scored 10 runs and you’re going to be a pretty tough team to beat.”
Alyssa Randall went 3-for-4 in the two spot to pace the Topsail attack. Grizzle and Lester added two hits apiece, while Hunter Bizzell scored a pair of runs atop the order.
With a 5-0 advantage in the fourth, Randall smacked an RBI single to go along with two more unearned runs later in the frame to put the game out of reach. Christine McLean added an extra base hit and Randall finished with two runs batted in.
As a No. 3 seed in the 3A east bracket, Topsail either travels to No. 2 Northwood in the fourth round of the state playoffs or hosts No. 26 Corinth Holders on Friday, May 20.
Northern 000 010 0 1 3 0
Topsail 202 330 X 10 11 2