Harmon, Urchins scratch out Game 1 win

PEARL – Landon Harmon wasn’t nearly as sharp as the last time he pitched at Trustmark Park. But the end result was the same.

The junior scuffled through six shutout innings, and East Union beat St. Andrew’s 5-0 in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 2A baseball finals on Tuesday. Game 2 is Thursday at 10 a.m.

Last year, Harmon tossed a five-inning perfect game to open the 2A title series. Against St. Andrew’s, the 2A Mr. Baseball allowed three hits, walked four and hit another batter.

“It’s decent, but compared to my other outings, this is one of the worst I’ve had,” he said. “Because I usually don’t give up a hit.”

The Saints (30-7) had at least one baserunner in each inning against Harmon (9-1). The sixth was a microcosm of his outing, as St. Andrew’s put two on with two outs. Harmon shut the door with a strikeout looking.

“May not have had his best stuff, but you’ve always got a chance when he’s out there,” East Union coach Jamie Russell said. “We’re super proud of how he competed. Got big outs when he needed them.”

East Union (25-5), the two-time reigning state champion, gave Harmon some early run support. A bases-loaded balk and an RBI groundout by Clayton Russell gave the Urchins a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

They added three more in the third. Harmon delivered an RBI single, and then Tristan Baldwyn smashed an RBI double to the warning track.

Ben Basil capped the inning with an RBI single to make it 5-0.

“It’s real big to get something going early, especially with Landon on the mound,” Baldwyn said.

St. Andrew’s starter Carter Everett (5-2) settled in after that. He went the distance, allowing seven hits.

Harmon threw 104 pitches, including 60 for strikes. After allowing a single in the first inning, he didn’t allow another hit until the sixth.

“I relied mainly on my two-seam,” Harmon said, “because my slider wasn’t great just because (the umpire) wasn’t really giving me anything on the outside corner.”

Extra Bases

Big Inning: Drew Hollimon had a one-out single in the third and then stole second base. He scored on Harmon’s single, and then Harmon scored on Baldwyn’s double. Basil’s RBI hit came with two outs.

Big Stat: St. Andrew’s left seven on base.

Coach Speak: “We got baserunners on, got timely hits and scratched out some runs. When you get in this situation, however you can do it, you’ve just got to do it.” – Russell