MORRILTON — Leading into Friday’s quarterfinal bracket, the Harrison Golden Goblins were the only local team keeping their season alive on the baseball diamond.
Paired against the Blazers of Valley View, the Goblins began their contest in the Class 4A State Baseball Tournament for a shot at the semifinals game.
Harrison struck first but it was the Blazers that struck last with a big rally in the bottom of the sixth inning to hand the Goblins an 8-2 loss and end Harrison’s season.
“I thought that we had some good opportunities early in the game,” Harrison head coach Matt Rodden commented after the game. “Breckin Duck had an outstanding start in this game. We just had a couple of miscues late that cost us.”
Harrison catcher Beck Jones began the game with a base hit up the middle. Senior Trey Richardson pinch ran. Richardson advanced to second when Noah Moix was walked and then hustled his way around the remainder of the bases for a run when Dylan Block hit a standup RBI double to left field.
Valley View quickly responded in the bottom of the opening inning. The leadoff batter sent a pitch deep into the outfield and continued to increase speed as he made his way all the way around the diamond for an inside-the-park homer to tie the game.
Logan Plumlee and Moix were each walked in the second inning and Sloan Barrett recorded a hit but all three runners were left stranded.
In the top of the third with one out, Duck sent a two-one pitch deep into left field and dead centered the scoreboard for a solo home run that put the Goblins back in the lead, 2-1.
Neither team scored and Harrison didn’t find another base hit until the top of the sixth when Jones hit a shot to right field followed by Moix earning a single with a short hit to center field. Both runners were stranded when a pop fly ended the top fo the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Valley View made their run at the lead by taking advantage of a walk and a pair of errors to send the first four batters around the bases. The Blazers continued to build on their newfound lead by send three more runs across home plate before the third out to take an 8-2 lead.
Harrison’s last chance to put runs on the board resulted in a strikeout and a pair of fly balls to end the game and the season.
Duck’s home run and Richardson’s score off Block’s double recorded the only Harrison runs of the game.
Jones led the bats with two hits while Block, Barrett, Duck, Cy Madden and Moix had one hit each.
Duck took the lesson the mound throwing 5.0 innings with two strikeouts.
Plumlee finished the game on the bump.
“I’m proud of the way they fought in every game,” Rodden noted. “We had some games that we started out very strong. They just fight no matter the situation and that’s what you want out of a team.”
Harrison finished the season with a 22-9 record after Friday’s game.
“I thought there were six teams in our league that could’ve been in the tournament and only four made it,” said the coach. “It was a good accomplishment to share a conference title. Anytime you win 22 games, it’s a good year.”
The coach had a soft spot in his heart for this year’s group of seniors.
“Our seniors are a great bunch of kids,” Rodden finished. “They have given us everything they have. It’s unfortunate the way the season ended last year. They are just outstanding kids, great leaders and have worked their tails off for four years. They will definitely be missed.”