HARRISBURG — The Harrisburg Bulldogs found themselves playing on their home turf at Jay Thompson Field on Wednesday, as Noah Boon threw a shutout to lead the Bulldogs past Eldorado 8-0 in the Class 2A Anna-Jonesboro Regional.
The game was originally going to take place in Anna-Jonesboro, but ended up getting moved over to the turf fields in Harrisburg due to a heavy amount of rain.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the home turf by earning their 16th consecutive victory and second victory over Eldorado on the season.
Boon couldn’t be touched on the mound for Harrisburg, lasting seven innings, allowing three hits and zero runs while striking out a season-high 14 batters. Boon carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Nolan Milligan recorded Eldorado’s first hit with a base hit into right field.
Boon continues his phenomenal sophomore season by moving to 8-2 on the season with 74 strikeouts and a 0.936 ERA.
“I just clear my head and throw,” said Boon. “Today I went out there and did what I’ve been doing all season by sticking to my mechanics.”
Boon certainly got some help from junior Will Holland who blasted two home runs for Harrisburg. Holland sat back and unloaded on a two-run shot in the fourth inning to extend the Bulldogs lead to 6-0. The junior then went back for seconds in the bottom of the sixth inning with another two-run homer.
“Boy, (Holland) has been hot lately,” said Harrisburg coach Jay Thompson. “He has hit a ton for us in the last month and really hit those two balls today.”
Holland pushes his season totals in home runs to a team-high seven. The junior led the Bulldogs by driving in four runs and finishing 2-for-3 at the plate.
“When your pitcher is out there throwing strikes and making outs it just brings confidence to the whole team and that’s all that matters,” said Holland. “Everybody needs confidence to hit and all we need is that confidence to keep winning going forward.”
Boon was able to strand the bases loaded in both the third and sixth inning. Outside of those two innings it was smooth sailing for the hard throwing righty.
“(Boon) was beautiful on the mound today,” said Thompson. “He got in a little bit of trouble a couple of times but it was nice to see him work out of it.”
Joe Mayberry took the loss for Eldorado. He went two innings, allowing three runs on one hit and striking out two.
Mayberry is the lone senior on Eldorado’s ballclub and had a tough time finding the strike zone in the first inning, allowing two runs on four walks. Mayberry also balked in the inning that led to a Jack Martin RBI sacrifice fly for Harrisburg. The Bulldogs didn’t record a hit against Mayberry in the inning, but did rack up his pitch count to 37 that led to an early exit for the Eagles starter.
Braden Unthank replaced Mayberry on the mound in the third inning. Unthank pitched four innings out of the bullpen, allowing seven hits and five runs while striking out two.
Harrisburg racked up eight hits on the day. Will Gibbs went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Bulldogs. Gibbs and Holland were the only Bulldogs to finish with multiple hits, but hitting wasn’t too much of a concern on a day where your pitcher is hot.
The change of location ended up being closer for both teams. Harrisburg would have played as the home team wherever they ended up playing thanks to their No. 1 seed in the regional.
“It’s always nice to play at home,” said Thompson. “(Eldorado) is seven miles down the road and it made a lot more sense to play here, and I know that Anna-Jonesboro got a flood last night. Thank goodness our facility is capable of handling bad weather.”
Thompson records career win No. 800 after Wednesday’s victory. Thompson humbly declined to speak on behalf of his new milestone following the game.
Harrisburg fill next face the winner of Thursday’s game between West Frankfort and Anna-Jonesboro on Saturday at 1 p.m.