Ryne Roper wasn't too far off of his assessment of Shawnee starting pitcher Adam Pennington when the Harrisburg senior leadoff hitter went down swinging in his first at-bat Thursday afternoon at Dorris Heights.
Roper calmly put his bat and helmet down and echoed these words of advice to his teammates. "He's good boys, pretty good."
Pennington was good - coming in with a 0.00 ERA and 89 strikeouts to just 11 walks in 38 innings pitched - but Harrisburg was just a little bit better in a 3-1 non-conference victory.
Pennington (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season as he gave up three runs on three hits, while striking out six and walking five.
"Penning is fantastic," Harrisburg head coach Jay Thompson said. "He's as good as anyone around here. We just battled and kept the game close until late in the game, he got tired and we squared a couple of balls up."
The big blow for Pennington came in the bottom of the sixth inning compliments of Brady Mayer who jacked a solo bomb over the left field fence to give Harrisburg a 2-1 lead.
Mayer first saw a fast ball away and made just enough adjustments on the second pitch to take the inside fastball yard giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.
Mayer finished the game 2-for-3 as Harrisburg improved to 21-3 on the season.
"Brady has had a lot of good at-bats this season," Thompson added. "He's really become an outstanding hitter. He's dangerous, he's strong and he's seeing the ball great right now."
Matthew Phipps helped extend the lead to two runs when he followed Brady's home run with a lined shot to centerfield.
Justin Younger used a sacrifice-bunt, turned error by Redskins catcher Aiden McMahan to score Phipps.
As good as Pennington was, the combination of Sykes Thompson and Blake Buchanan was even better.
Thompson didn't figure into the decision despite going 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Buchanan, who got the win, bailed out Thompson in the sixth, coming in with the bases loaded and induced Justin Goodman to strikeout and got out of the inning unscathed by forcing Michael Crane to fly out to Younger in centerfield.
Buchanan then worked a perfect seventh, finishing with two strikeouts in the game.
It was the second time that Harrisburg was able to squirm out of potential danger as Shawnee left seven runners on base and five in scoring position.
Harrisburg is scheduled to play at Carbondale today (Friday) at 4:30 p.m. and then will head to the Metro East Saturday where they will play Highland, starting at noon, followed by Collinsville afterwards.
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