By: D.J. WATSON
NH Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE – We are two weeks into the season, and the Harrison Central baseball team’s record sits at just 2-1. For those not particularly familiar with the high school baseball season, there is something considerably wrong with that sentence. In a normal (maybe more dry) year, many teams would be approaching the midway point on their regular season schedule by now. However, Harrison and many teams around the valley, are nowhere near that mark coming into this weekend. While the Huskies were able to get two games in last weekend, the first an 8-0 victory over the hosting Ridgewood Generals, and the other a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the hometown rival Edison Wildcats; Mother Nature has still swallowed up six games of the Huskies 2018 slate.
The only other matchup the Huskies have under their belt this season is a 6-3 triumph over Buckeye Local back on March 26. Even if the weather isn’t in midseason form, Huskies pitcher Andrew Clelland certainly appears to be. The lengthy sophomore tossed a complete game shutout last weekend against the Generals, sitting down nine batters on his way to his second mound victory of the season. With the Huskies up 1-0 in the top half of the third, a Logan Tonkovich bomb over the left field fence made it 3-0 with one swing of the bat. Harrison added five more runs in the top of the sixth, and with that kind of cushion head coach Mike Valesko was comfortable letting Clelland finish out the opening game of the triple bill. Aside from Tonkovich’s third inning blast, the Huskies combined for five hits and five RBI’s as a team. J.R. Heavilin worked three different dish appearances into free passes, two of which ended with a run scored. Two registered errors proved costly for a Generals squad who dressed a number of underclassmen.
In the second game the Huskies bats weren’t quite as lively, and Edison ace Tristan Haught’s 13 strikeouts had a lot to do with that. Expected to be one of the toughest pitchers the Huskies will face all year, Haught only surrendered two hits and four baserunners in total. Much like Clelland rode out an early lead against the Generals, Haught returned the favor after the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning. Huskies pitcher J.R. Heavilin recovered to fan seven Cat batters in six innings of work, holding the co-visitors scoreless aside from the first inning double that produced the game’s only offense. With a limited number of Harrison players on the base-paths, Haught was able to pretty much glide to victory without much of a threat from the Harrison dugout.
The Huskies are hoping to be back on the diamond this coming Monday with a trip to meet Buckeye Eight South rival St.Clairsville at Memorial Park. With limited action so far this year, every game will carry extra weight in terms of OVAC 4A and Buckeye Eight Championship positioning.