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Nail Biter
Freshman Harmon's key strikeout preserves Tigers win

By Zack Huffman

zhuffman@news-daily.com

Mundy's Mill freshman Corey Harmon stood on the mound Monday afternoon at Mundy's Mill High School. It was the top of the seventh and the Tigers led Westlake 12-11. With two outs and runners on first and second, his next throw would be crucial.

Westlake's Brandon Banks, who was already 3-for-4 at the plate, was up against a 3-and-2 count.

Harmon gripped the ball and fired it home. The ball went high and wide, sending Banks to first on a walk to load the bases.

Westlake was one solid hit away from claiming the game. At least that would have been, had Harmon's arm not rocketed a trio of strikes across home plate for his fourth strikeout in as many innings, and most importantly, the win for the Tigers, 12-11.

"If it wasn't him, I knew I would get the next batter," said Harmon about his final strikeout after loading the bases.

The game between Westlake and Mundy's Mill, which was a region 4-AAAAA match-up, included plenty of hits, stolen bases, good pitching, not-so-good pitching, great plays, blundered plays and most importantly for Mundy's Mill, a victory for the Tigers.

"We're a young team and we made mistakes. We didn't play our best, but we'll take the win," said Mundy's Mill coach Patrick Smith. "I credit my team for staying in it. We hung in there."

For the Tigers, not only was the game an important region game, it was also an opportunity for Mundy's Mill to get some revenge for the 5-4 loss it suffered at Westlake in early March.

It was Mundy's Mill's chance to host this time.

"Our motto is 'Don't lose at home," said Smith.

The game was a shoot out from the beginning with Westlake taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Just when it looked like Mundy's Mill might have a tough game ahead, they fired back from five more runs before the second inning.

Mundy's Mill gave up a single run, before adding three runs to its own total in the second inning.

Westlake took over in the third inning, scoring four runs before Mundy's Mill took starting pitcher Jonathan Whitted off the mound, replacing him with Harmon.

Two runs from the Tigers in the bottom of the third put them back on top.

Once again, Westlake jumped ahead, 10-9 with a pair of runs at the top of the fourth inning only to have Mundy's Mill tie up the game in the bottom of the inning.

Neither team was able to generate any production in the fifth inning, twice changing sides after just three batters.

In the sixth, Westlake regained the lead with a single run.

With three outs to go in the bottom of the sixth, Mundy's Mill opened with a solid triple from Robert Bell. He tied the score, stealing home after the catcher dropped a strike.

From there, Mundy's Mill loaded the bases.

Rashad Crawford came up to bat. Although he was struck out, the catcher dropped the ball, giving him the opportunity to run to first.

With the bases loaded, everyone had to run. As Westlake was busy running down Quincy Nunnally between first and second base, Harmon slipped home, giving Mundy's Mill a one-point lead.

The Tigers just needed to hold that lead for three outs to get the early win.

One short inning later, the Tigers did just that, with the help of a ground out and two strike outs.

Westlake visited Lovejoy High School earlier in the day, clobbering the Wildcats for 15-2 region in just six innings.

According to Westlake coach Isaac Haynes, after allowing two runs in the first inning, Westlake's pitching took off, scoring eleven strikeouts as the offensive blew through 15 runs.