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Bulldogs Up For Encore

  • The Harrisburg High School baseball team finished 30-9 last season and won a regional, beating Murphysboro and knocking off Nashville for a sectional championship. Harrisburg didn't graduate anyone and brings back the core nucleus of last year's team.

    The Harrisburg High School baseball team finished 30-9 last season and won a regional, beating Murphysboro and knocking off Nashville for a sectional championship. Harrisburg didn't graduate anyone and brings back the core nucleus of last year's team.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 3/19/2020 11:26 AM

After posting a 30-9 record a season ago, winning a sectional and bringing back the entire nucleus of last year's team, no one is more excited to get the season started than Harrisburg head baseball coach Jay Thompson.

"We will be very good," Thompson said. "We have experienced kids, good players, tough kids, competitors and the Bulldogs will be hard to beat."

Last season, Harrisburg won the Anna-Jonesboro Regional, knocking off Murphysboro and then winning the Benton Sectional, knocking off Nashville. Eventually, the Bulldogs' well ran dry after running into postseason nemesis Teutopolis in the Super Sectional.

As a team, Harrisburg hit .338 in 39 games with an on-base percentage of .433 and a slugging percentage of .470.

The Bulldogs banged out 357 hits, including 84 doubles, five tripes and 15 home runs. Harrisburg drove in 240 runs and scored 292.

Defensively, Harrisburg a team ERA of .1782, while allowing 64 earned runs in 251 innings.

"We've had a ton of good teams in Harrisburg history, but this team is special and they have the opportunity to do some spectacular things," Thompson added.

Seven seniors make up this year's Harrisburg roster and five of them have already signed to continue their baseball career next season.

Entering their final campaign are Will Gibbs, Jacob Penrod, Will Holland, Isaac Crabb, Connor Phalin, Jack Martin and Nick Hunter.

In 39 games, Gibbs hit .432 with 12 doubles, 27 RBI and 29 stolen bases. He led the Bulldogs with 60 hits and was the anchor of the Harrisburg defense at second base. Gibbs has committed to Onley Central College for next season.

Penrod scored 13 runs, six RBI and four stolen bases in 32 games. Holland, who has signed on to play at John A. Logan College next season, hit .369 last season and had seven home runs to go with 31 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He led the Bulldogs with 57 runs scored and played solid defense in the middle infield.

Crabb led the Bulldogs offensively last season, hitting .458 in 39 games with a team-high 20 extra base hits and a team-high 43 RBI. On the mound, Crabb went 7-3 with a 0.88 ERA, which included 79 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched. Crabb has signed to continue his baseball career at Wabash Valley.

Phalin went 8-1 on the mound with a 1.27 ERA and struck out 47 in 49.2 innings pitched. The Southeastern Illinois College commit hit .231, driving in 20 and scoring 19 runs in 37 games last season.

Martin hit .362 with 16 extra base hits, drove in 30 runs and scored 33 runs. On the mound, Martin was 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA, including 35 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched.

In 31 games last year, Hunter hit .395 with 16 RBI and scored 28 runs. He had 11 extra base hits and nine stolen bases. He is signed to play at Rend Lake College.

Nine juniors Andrew Bittle, Colby Morse, Brandon Banks, Ben Brombaugh, Javie Beal, Peyton Arnold, Drew Fromm, Krayton Morse and Noah Boon round out the roster with Riley King being the only sophomore on the squad.

Five are returning starters including Colby Morse, Beal, Boon, Brombaugh and Bittle.

In 34 games, Bittle hit .350 and scored 20 runs, including eight stolen bases. On the bump, Bittle went 1-0 in 13 innings pitched with 13 strikeouts and posted a 1.08 ERA.

Colby Morse's season was cut short to only 15 games due to an injury. Prior to that, Morse appeared in 15 games and hit .273, scoring 10 runs and had six RBI. Krayton Morse hit .295 in 22 games and scored two runs and had five RBI. A solid catcher, Morse threw out five runners trying to steal and has verbally committed to play college at Lincoln Trail.

Banks appeared in seven games last year and pitched 14.1 innings. One bad outing caused his ERA to bee inflated. He finished 0-2 with a 9.27 ERA and 13 strikeouts.

In 31 games, Brombaugh hit .245 in 53 at-bats with 19 runs scored, five RBI and four stolen bases.

In 39 games, Beal hit .339 with two home runs, 31 RBI and scored 23 runs. He was also 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts.

Arnold worked two innings last season, he faced 13 batters and allowed four hits and three earned runs. In 21 games, Fromm hit .263 in 38 at-bats and had seven RBI and scored six runs. He made one appearance out of the bullpen and in two innings, he had a 0.00 ERA.

In 36 games, Boon hit .315 and had 24 RBI, while scoring 14 runs. On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 1.20 ERA and had 80 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched.

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter