It certainly wasn’t a David vs. Goliath, but Harrisburg’s win over New Trier was chalked up as one for the little guys.
New Trier, whose enrollment is right at 4,500 and who has consistently been a perennial powerhouse in Class 4A was shut out 10-0 Wednesday afternoon by Harrisburg at Dorris Heights Field.
The win for the Bulldogs (enrollment: 575), improved them to 5-0 on the season and allowed stud right hander Ryne Roper to earn his third straight win on the season, this time in complete game fashion.
Roper’s outing was as dominant as the Rawlings Preseason All-American has had in some previous outings.
The senior and current University of Illinois commitment struck out 11 on Wednesday and had seven strikeouts through three full innings, five of which were batters caught looking.
Roper gave up a hit in the first inning before settling in and went on to pitch flawlessly using his fastball, curveball and change up to near perfection. After the first inning hit given up to Grant Klenovich, Roper allowed a hit in the fourth inning to Jake Cloud and a fifth inning hit to Drew La Motte.
Maybe more impressive to Roper’s start to the season is the fact he has 23 strikeouts to just one walk.
“All three pitches worked really well today,” Roper said afterwards. “Getting ahead of hitters always helps and then on the offensive end, guys getting on base and getting me some runs.”
Harrisburg certainly gave Roper plenty of room to breathe as the Bulldogs put up two runs in the second inning, before busting out the bats and exploding for eight runs in the third.
The Bulldogs had a two-out rally in the second thanks in large part to a New Trier error and walk.
Justin Younger led the inning off after being hit by a pitch, which was followed by Brady Mayer reaching base on an error by Matt McCaffery.
Younger was forced out at second, but Brennan Street singled to third after Mayer and Nick Davis followed being hit by a pitch. After Ryan Luce struck out for the second out, Sykes Thompson reached base on an error by starting pitcher Matt Cohen and allowed Noah Vallette (pinch running for Mayer) to score. Roper drew a bases loaded walk to score Street for the second one before Cody Hall ended the inning grounding out to second.
Harrisburg batted around in the third inning where Cooper Thompson led the inning off with a leadoff double down the left field line. Thompson later scored when Mayer ripped a single into left center and Luce followed a Davis walk with an RBI double scoring Vallette.
A wild pitch, coupled with an error with Sykes Thompson up to bat, allowed Davis to score and Thompson was later hit by a pitch. Roper laced a fly ball to deep left field, resulting in a two RBI double, scoring Luce and Sykes Thompson.
Page 2 of 2 - Hall knocked a base hit into center field, scoring Buchanan (pinch running for Roper), followed by a Cooper Thompson walk. The final two runs on the inning came off the bat of Younger, who’s base hit scored Hall and Cooper Thompson.
Roper summed up the win against New Trier as a feather in the Bulldogs’ cap.
They’re always a really good 4A team. They come down here every year with a quality group of players and it’s good game to beat them this early in the season. It kind of helps give us a gauge as to where we need to get better at.
Roper and Street each finished 1-for-3 on the day, with Roper putting up three RBIs. Sykes Thompson, Cooper Thompson, Hall, Mayer and Luce all went 1-for-2, while Hall, Mayer and Luce all had RBIs. Younger went 1-for-1 with an RBI.
Harrisburg is slated to play Johnston City today (Thursday) at 4 p.m. at Dorris Heights. Younger is expected to get the start for the Bulldogs. Younger is 1-0 on the year.
Michael Dann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @spydieshooter.