The Harrisburg High School baseball team borrowed a page from the opening of ABC's World Wide of Sports in a weekend when the Bulldogs experienced the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.
The Bulldogs knocked off Vernon Hills in come-from-behind fashion Friday, beating the Cougars 3-1, but then lost to Pleasant Plains 7-3 Saturday at Dorris Heights.
Friday's victory featured a little bit of everything for the Bulldogs as they took down the Lake County school's ace in Tyler Feece, a senior southpaw who has committed to Illinois State for baseball.
Vernon Hills got on the scoreboard first, with Feece trying to help out his own cause, doubling into left field in the lead off spot off Harrisburg starter Cody Hall.
Hall then gave up a base hit to Joey Marras, who scored Feece, but Hall was able to work himself out of an early jam, despite giving up another single to Dylan McNamara, by inducing Brett Peterson into a fielder's choice and forcing McNamara at second. That followed by striking out Andrew Willey and getting Jake Boyer to pop up to end the inning.
Feece meanwhile retired the first eight batters he faced in the Harrisburg lineup, before Sykes Thompson came through with a two-out double down the left field line. Ryne Roper then followed suit with a single into right field.
Hall, who also wanted to help out his own cause, blooped a single into shallow right field, scoring both Thompson and Roper to give Harrisburg the lead.
Things looked bleak for the Bulldogs in the top of the fourth when Vernon Hills put the first three batters on base. Again, Hall worked out of trouble, striking out Peterson and Boyer and forcing Willey to pop out.
Harrisburg's insurance run came in the bottom of the fourth when Cooper Thompson legged out a triple. It was followed by an RBI from Justin Younger.
Hall finished the game, giving up eight hits and just the one run, followed by one walk five strikeouts. Vernon Hills left five players on base, including four in scoring position, but more importantly, proved himself to his head coach Jay Thompson.
"Cody has had two really good outings in a row," Thompson said. "I'm tickled to death with him and he looks like he may be the No. 2 guy that we're really looking for."
Feece suffered his first loss of the season, in his first outing, giving up six hits and walking one, while striking out five."
"Feece is really good," Thompson added. "He's a scholarship kid going to Illinois State next year and deservedly so. Our kids battled and hung tough; we had a couple of big hits when we needed them."
Roper finished 2-for-3 on the day, while Hall went 1-for-2, along with Sykes Thompson. Cooper Thompson went 1-for-3, along with Brennan Street.
Page 2 of 3 - The win for Thompson was more about what his Bulldogs were able to demonstrate defensively as opposed to what they were able to do offensively.
"We do it everyday, but Justin (Younger) makes it look easy in centerfield. He makes a couple of great catches and Cooper (Thompson) makes a couple of unbelievable plays at first base. People take it for granted, but again, I'll say it; defensively we are really good."
In the 7-3 loss to Pleasant Plains, Roper and Brady Mayer each had two hits apiece, but the Bulldogs committed seven errors on the day in the first loss of the season.
Pleasant Plains scored one run in the second inning, followed by three runs in the third. They then tacked on the final three runs in the top half of the seventh inning.
That thwarted any hope of a Harrisburg comeback, despite the Bulldogs scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Harrisburg scored their first run in the bottom of the sixth.
Sykes Thompson suffered his first loss of the season, while Harrisburg also sent Blake Buchanan and Matt Phipps to the mound.
Hall and Younger both went 1-for-4, while Sykes Thompson and Street each went 1-for-3. Cooper Thompson went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Benton 10, Eldorado 0
Benton's Zack Mocaby threw a one-hit shutout as the Rangers blanked Eldorado, 10-0, on Saturday in Benton.
Mocaby allowed just two walks and struck out three in five innings of work as the Rangers (6-4) picked up their third straight win.
Mocaby also provided all the offensive support he would need with three RBI's. Benton's Dakota Head also drove in three on two hits. Benton's Martin Ward also had a big day at the plate. Ward finished 4-for-4 with two RBI's.
In all, the Rangers had 10 hits. The Rangers scored twice in the first, two more times in the second and drove in three in both the fourth and fifth to close out the win.
Eldorado starting pitcher Garrison Hathaway lasted just three-plus innings after giving up seven runs. Adam Collier finished the game in relief and surrendered three runs.
Gallatin County 11, Hardin County 1
Gallatin County hosted Hardin County in a GEC conference matchup late last week and picked up their third conference win 11-1 in 5 innings.
The Hawks had trouble getting the offense going, picking up a single run in the third inning on a Wesley McGuire RBI triple.
Hardin answered in the top of the fourth courtesy of a couple of Hawk errors. However in the 5fifth inning, Gallatin erupted for 10 runs with Daine Hish driving in four runs in the inning and Jared Jackson driving in a pair.
Page 3 of 3 - "Our plate discipline was very good today and we were able to take advantage of opportunities that were there," head coach Dave Cruson said. "We have had some early offensive woes; hopefully it is mainly due to the weather, but hopefully we are starting to turn that corner now."
McGuire picked up his third win of the season going all five, striking out 10 and allowing one hit and one unearned run.
"Wes is a very talented pitcher and it is a pleasure watching him pitch. He was in control from the start, we just have to limit mistakes behind him," Cruson added.
Gallatin improves to 7-1 on the season and 3-0 in the GEC. Gallatin County is scheduled to travel to Crab Orchard Tuesday.