Jay Thompson gave a strong and stern pre-game talk to his Bulldogs troops prior to the start of Wednesday’s semifinal game between Harrisburg and Hamilton County in the Harrisburg Class 2A Regional at Dorris Heights.
Part of that speech was a proposed winning streak he wanted his team to go on and not see come to an end for six more games.
Harrisburg got off on the right foot, pounding out 21 hits in a 17-0 victory over Hamilton County.
Justin Younger paced the Bulldogs (29-4) at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Cody Hall picked up the win on the bump as the senior scattered just two hits over five innings, as he struck out three and walked one.
“Cody pitched great, he stayed around the plate and kept the game moving,” Thompson said.
Harrisburg didn’t waste any time putting up three runs in the first inning when Cody Hall singled to left field, followed by a Copper Thompson single to right center that scored Hall. Brady Mayer then roped a double to left center and Younger provided a two RBI single to left center, scoring Thompson and Mayer.
Harrisburg then put up a 10-spot in the second inning, batting around the order as Noah Vallette led off the inning, reaching base on a single. Sykes Thompson singled up the middle and Ryne Roper put down a perfectly positioned base hit down the left field line to load the bases.
Hall roped an RBI fly ball to left field to score Vallette and prior to a Cooper Thompson strikeout, Sykes Thompson scored on a passed ball.
With Mayer up at bat, Roper scored on a passed ball, before Mayer’s base hit into left field scored Blake Buchanan, who was courtesy running for Hall.
Younger then took a pitch back up the box, before Matthew Phipps reached on a error, scoring Braxton Keasler, courtesy running for Mayer. Nick Davis reached safely on base hit past second, scoring two.
Vallette came back up, this time with a base knock past short and Sykes Thompson closed out the scoring onslaught when he went up for one that was poked into right field to score Davis.
The Bulldogs put up two more runs in the third inning when Carson Batts’ soft apple down the left field line loaded the bases as Mayer and Younger each had base hits.
Ryan Luce induced a fielder’s choice to score Keasler and Chris Willsey also had a fielder’s choice, scoring Younger.
Bryan Bennett singled in the fourth to move Brennan Street to second as Street led off the fourth with a walk. Following back-to-back outs by Keasler and Batts, Luce singled into right field, scoring Street and Willsey’s RBI single past second scored Bennett.
Page 2 of 3 - Roper, Hall, Mayer and Sykes Thompson all went 2-for-3 on the day. Roper scored two runs, while Hall scored two runs and added an RBI. Mayer had an RBI and Sykes Thompson scored two runs an added an RBI.
Cooper Thompson finished 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI, while Phipps, Batts, Luce, Davis and Willsey all went 1-for-2. Willsey, Davis and Luce each had two RBIs, while Bennett and Buchanan both went 1-for-1.
“We hit a lot of balls on the head of the bat today,” Thompson said. “We had some balls find some holes early, but more importantly we had a lot of kids go up there with a lot of confidence today.”
With the victory Wednesday, Harrisburg surpassed last year’s win total of 28-9-1. The Bulldogs will now play in Saturday’s IHSA Class 2A Regional Championship against today (Thursday’s) winner of Massac County and Vienna.
Saturday’s championship game will be at 11 a.m. at Dorris Heights.
Gallatin County 5,
GOLCONDA - A go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be the difference for Gallatin County as the Hawks held off Carrier Mills-Stonefort 5-4 to advance to Saturday's IHSA Class 1A Regional Championship at Pope County.
Wes McGuire got the win for Gallatin County as he relieved Zach McGuire, who went 4.33, giving up four runs on six hits, while striking out seven and walking two.
Wes McGuire pitched 2.67 innings, allowing no runs on three hits, while striking out seven.
Dalton Summers took the loss for Carrier Mills-Stonefort, pitching two innings and gave up just one run on one hit, while hitting a batter and walking one.
Loren Whiting got the start for the Wildcats and went four innings, scattering four hits and giving up four runs. Whiting walked three and struck out two.
Gallatin County claimed a 4-0 lead after three innings when Marcus Wargle singled, Tyler Crayne and McGuire drew back-to-back walks. Daine Hish then roped a three-run double and the throw to third went into the dugout to score Hish.
"Loren had trouble finding the strike zone and after the two walks, Hish turned on one with a double down the right field line," Carrier Mills-Stonefort head coach Allen Jackson said.
The Wildcats then rallied for two runs in the fourth inning when Darren Betz led off with a single, followed by Josh Bailey reaching base via error by the shortstop. A Whiting walk led to a Jonah Crowder two-run single.
"It was great to see us come out in the fourth and start chipping away," Jackson said. "but after the throw home (after the crowder single) we had second and third with no outs and couldn't score. That came back to haunt us."
Page 3 of 3 - In the fifth, Carrier Mills-Stonefort continued the comeback in the fifth when Anthony Kaloder doubled, as did Summers, which followed a Bailey single giving way to Whiting roping an RBI double.
Gallatin County got the one run it needed when Mitchell Ramsey was hit by a pitch to start the sixth and an errant pick off attempt at first base allowed Ramsey to move to third. York then provided an RBI single to score Ramsey that proved to be the game winner.
"We missed some opportunities to score but credit McGuire, He's tough to handle," Jackson said. "We had a difficult year losing quite a few players for various reasons but the kids that remained never quit and were a privalege to coach."
Carrier Mills-Stonefort finished the season 9-15. Gallatin County will now play in Saturday's regional championship at 11 a.m.
Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.