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Bulldogs blank West Frankfort for third straight regional crown

  • Members of the Harrisburg coaching staff, along with the Harrisburg baseball team, pose with the championship plaque after defeating West Fankfort 6-0 Saturday to claim the school's third straight regional title and 28th overall.

    Members of the Harrisburg coaching staff, along with the Harrisburg baseball team, pose with the championship plaque after defeating West Fankfort 6-0 Saturday to claim the school's third straight regional title and 28th overall.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 5/18/2019 8:39 PM

Consider what Harrisburg did Saturday as putting the rest of southern Illinois on notice.

The Bulldogs got a precise pitching performance, bookended by dominant defense and an efficient offense in a 6-0 shutout over West Frankfort to capture their third straight IHSA Class 2A Regional crown and 28th overall.

Offensively, Harrisburg scored at least one run in every inning but the second and sixth and cranked out eight hits on the day, one of which was an inside the park home run by Javie Beal in the bottom of the fifth inning.

In the first Gibbs led the inning off with single and later scored on a passed ball.

In the third inning, Crabb led off with a walk and was replaced by Andrew Bittle as a courtesy runner. Jack Martin's bunt single put Bittle at third and a sac-bunt by Beal scored Bittle.

In the bottom of the fourth, Harrisburg scored two runs on two hits as Holland's RBI single scored Colby Morse, who led the inning off reaching on an error and Crabb singled into left field scoring Holland.

Beal's inside the park home run occurred in the fifth inning, where Connor Phalin scored on Colby Morse's hit and in the sixth.

The common theme of the day for Harrisburg was getting the lead off runner on and that's what Harrisburg head coach Jay Thompson said set the tone for the hot afternoon.

"We got our lead-off hitter on several times and If you play right and get your lead-off hitter on, you should score a run," Thompson said. "Fortunately for us, a lot of times we got the lead-off hitter on. He's one of our fast guys. So we could steal second, sacrifice at third, and squeeze home. It's just a nice easy run."

Will Holland had the lone multiple hit day for Harrisburg as he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Will Gibbs, Issac Crabb, Krayton and Colby Morse, along with Beal all had one hit.

Beal had a team-high two RBI, while Krayton Morse and Crabb both had one. Connor Phalin, Andrew Bittle, Gibbs, Beal and Colby Morse all scored one run.

Saturday, however, belonged to Crabb, the hard throwing right hander, who allowed just one hit on the day, as he struck out eight and walked four.

Crabb didn't allow a base runner until the third inning and possibly saved some of his best work as Crabb gave up a lead off walk to Ryley House. Bryson Dorris then bunted into a fielder's choice, putting runners on the corner at first and third and after Crabb walked Connor Eaton to load the bases. The junior went to work, while getting some help from his defense.

On a first pitch ball to Woolard, who was in the box, House was caught stealing at home after a heads up play by Krayton Morse. Woolard then struck out looking and Brogan Rains popped up to Holland at second base to end the inning and the threat.

"Issac has been dominant in the last month," Thompson said of his ace. "He gives up almost nothing and our kids obviously have tremendous confidence when he's on the mound. They know they score 3 or 4 runs, we're probably going to win."

Aside from Noah Boon, who has pitched the most innings at 59.1, Crabb (7-2) is second at 53.1. Crabb has a .525 ERA as he has struck out a team-high 70 batters this season, to go along with 19 walks. He has given up nine runs (four earned) this year on just 18 hits.

Up next for Harrisburg will be a date with with the winner of the Ziegler-Royalton Regional winner on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Benton.

Also in that Sectional will be the Red Bud and Carmi-White County Regional winners, which will play Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Sectional Championship will be Saturday in Benton at 11 a.m.

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

 
 
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