ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls baseball team is young and inexperienced, but interim head coach Matthew Hunt doesn’t want the team to fall back on that excuse any longer.
“I’m tired of making excuses about having a young team. We have to get better,” Hunt said. “Point blank and simple. We have to get better. These kids have been playing baseball all of their lives. After the first game, we’re no longer young. We’re an experienced team.
“Tonight I only started one kid with varsity experience. That’s no excuse, and I’m tired of repeating that.”
The Bulldogs (2-5, 1-5 TRC) showed glimpses of their youth on Friday in a 5-2 loss at home to East Bladen.
It was the first victory of the season for the Eagles (1-5, 1-5 TRC), who tallied nine hits against St. Pauls pitcher Marcus Johnson.
Johnson registered six strikeouts in a complete game on the mound for the Bulldogs.
“He’s never pitched before at the varsity level, so he’s still learning,” Hunt said. “Every game he’s out there, he has to find it. He struggles a little bit and then all of the sudden brings it back. It seems like he gets focused.”
The Bulldogs had eight players collect one hit each.
St. Pauls scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Aaron Revel led off the inning with a double, and Caleb Henderson brought him home with another two-bagger.
Henderson accounted for the Bulldogs’ only other run, crossing the plate as Austin Locklear reached first base on an error with two outs in the sixth inning.
“We lost the game, so it isn’t a good feeling,” Henderson said. “It felt good to help my team out with those two runs.”
East Bladen’s Sincere Smith put the Eagles on the scoreboard in the first inning after scoring from third on a groundout.
An RBI double by Greyson Huestess added to the lead in the fourth. After fielding a groundout later in the same inning, Johnson attempted a throw to third base that went errant. Josh McKoy and Huestess scored from third and second base, respectively, on the error.
The Eagles concluded their fourth inning rally when Quentin Bedsole drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
“We’re taking steps to improve,” Hunt said. “We’ve been struggling here lately. We’ve got a young team. They have lots of room to improve.”
“We needed that win right there,” Henderson said. “We have to stay put up.”
East Bladen was held to its lowest run total of the season.
In the softball game, St. Pauls topped East Bladen 8-5.
Danielle Gray had a pair of hits, Kourtney Sanchious had a triple and Kaitlyn Locklear had an RBI. Brianna Brewer struck out 14 batters.
Golden Tornadoes rout South Columbus
TABOR CITY — The Fairmont baseball team used 11 hits to defeat South Columbus 22-7 on the road.
Randy Floyd picked up the win and got a run support early and often with 12 runs in the first two innings.
Skyler Hunt went 3-for-3 hitting with four RBIs and Seth Thorndyke had a pair of hits. Jayden Freeman had two hits and five RBIs.
In the softball game, South Columbus routed Fairmont 15-5 in six innings.
Kaylee McMillan had a pair of RBIs, Kaitlyn Hunt had a hit and an RBI, Mya Strickland had a hit and an RBI and Mackenzie Johnson went 2-for-2 with a pair of triples.
Lumberton soccer falls on the road
SHALLOTTE —The Lumberton girls soccer team fell to West Brunswick on Friday by a 2-1 score.
The Lady Pirates lone goal came from Sydney Wober.
Pirates drop two to Bucs
FAYETTEVILLE — The Jack Britt baseball team shut out Lumberton at home in a 2-0 Sandhills Athletic Conference win.
Seth Odum took the loss on the mound. Kelvin Ortega went 2-for-2 at the plate and Tyler Jacobs was 1-for-3.
In softball, a slugfest ensued as the Jack Britt Softball team defeated Lumberton 11-8 with a combined seven home runs hit by both teams.
Madison Canady hit two homers with five RBIs, LeeAnn Nobles hit a pair of home runs for two RBIs and Kasey West had two hits.
Purnell Swett softball tops Scotland
LAURINBURG — A two-run fourth inning helped the Purnell Swett softball team defeat Scotland 2-0 on the road.
Kierra Locklear hit a two-run homer in the fourth for the only scoring in the game. JaiLeana Deese pitched her first shutout of the season and had six strikeouts.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Tester_Brandon.