Jackets lock up playoff spot behind Harmon’s 10-inning gem

Stephenville celebrates as courtesy runner Taylor England crosses the plate with the winning - and only - run in the bottom of the 10th inning against Graham Wednesday in Glen Rose. || TheFlashToday.com photo by BRAD KEITH



GLEN ROSE (April 20, 2016) — Dillon Rogers was almost perfect, but Cole Harmon and company got out of every jam for Stephenville.

Both starting pitchers tossed gems, and there was never so much as a visit to the mound during a 1-0 Stephenville win that took 10 innings Tuesday, the second game between the 6-4A rivals to last three innings longer than scheduled.

Stephenville won both, and because of that and an upset of Mineral Wells, have locked up a top three finish in 6-4A. The Yellow Jackets conclude district play on senior night Friday against Brownwood. First pitch is 7:30 p.m. at James T. Young Baseball Field.


Bradley Morrison doubled with one out in the bottom of the 10th, and courtesy runner Taylor England advanced to third on a sharp groundout by Aaron Abila. Derek Gifford, who already has two game-winning at bats this season, stepped up, but didn’t even need to make contact to watch the only run score.

The Graham catcher tried to pick off England at third following a pitch, but instead airmailed the ball to left field. England scored with ease and Stephenville players poured from the dugout in celebration. The Jackets are playoff bound, and won’t have to face the 5-4A champ in the opening round.

Stephenville didn’t have a base runner until consecutive bunt singles by Cody Storrs and Harmon gave the Jackets a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh. A line out and strikeout ended the threat, however, and they played on.

It was Graham that did all the threatening over the first 6-1/2 innings, but Harmon began two double plays and Gifford gunned down a runner at the plate to keep Graham scoreless.

Harmon surrendered eight hits and a walk while striking out three. Graham had two hits and a walk to load the bases in the top of the first, and it looked as if Harmon was facing an uphill battle.

But things changed quickly for the senior, who took a grounder on one hop and tossed the ball home in time for Storrs, a freshman catcher, to step on the plate for the second out of the inning and fire in time to Caleb Gibbons at first for the third out.

Graham got runners to third and second without an out in the fourth, but Harmon recorded a strikeout, then Gifford gracefully fielded a sharp grounder from the short stop hole and gunned down the lead runner at the plate, where Storrs applied the tag for the second out. Graham stranded a runner at third when a groundout to third baseman Morrison ended the inning.

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Harmon helped himself again in the seventh. After surrendering a single then committing an error trying to get the lead runner at second, he struck out the ensuing batter then celebrated as Storrs caught the runner trying to steal third . Morrison applied the tag for the rare strikeout-throw-out double play and the Jackets were out of another jam.

Storrs had a big night with a hand in both double plays, a tag out at the plate and two of the team’s four hits from the dish. His game was the biggest by a non-pitcher on a night full of highlights by Harmon and Rogers.

It was a tough way to lose for the Graham hurler, who retired the first 19 batters he faced and ended up allowing just the lone unearned run on four hits without a walk while striking out seven over 9-2/3 innings.

Niether Harmon or Rogers reached 100 pitches until the 10th inning, but only one – Harmon – would celebrate with his teammates in the end.

Note: The game was played in Glen Rose because of wet conditions at Stephenville’s field following recent rainstorms.


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