Apr. 8—LEBANON — The first start of Lebanon senior ace Garrett Harker's season was one of the most dominant you will ever see.
Harker struck out 11 of the 14 batters he faced, and along with sophomore Korbyn Sloggett, combined to throw a no-hitter as the Tigers topped Knightstown 11-0 on Wednesday night at Memorial Park.
"He was absolutely dominant," Lebanon head coach Rick Cosgray said. "He had great command. He was spotting his fast ball, and then when he needed to execute his curve ball, he did that as well. This is just the start of things for him."
Harker threw just 62 pitches in four innings, 42 strikes.
The only two base runners he allowed were a one-out walk in the second and a one-walk in the third. Outside of those two at bats, he only went to one other three ball count and two other two ball counts.
Only one batter put the ball in play against him, a grounder back to him to end the third, and only nine of his 62 pitches resulted in contact at all.
"I was really excited to get back out there," Harker said. "I was pounding the zone, and was able to get a lot of strikes and ahead of hitters. I was able to dominate a little bit there in the beginning."
Harker couldn't of asked for a much better top of the first.
He struck out the side on just 10 pitches, starting with eight strikes (six looking). Harker needed just 18 pitches in the second, striking out three batters again.
"It was great to start like that," Harker said. "Getting to put on the Lebanon (baseball) jersey again was amazing and felt great to have the community out here supporting us was awesome. To be able to do that in the first inning, it was great to feel that energy again."
The Tigers got all the run support they needed in the first inning.
Harker drove in the first run of the game with a one-out triple to make it 1-0. After a walk to Brayton Bowen, an error allowed two runs to score to make it 3-0.
Michael Richwine then made it 4-0 on an RBI-ground out. Caleb Linton's RBI-single made it 5-0 after two, before the Tigers blew it wide open in the third.
Lebanon loaded the bases with no outs, and Richwine scored on a wild pitch. After a hit batter loaded the bases, Harker's sacrifice fly made it 7-0.
A wild pitch and a passed ball allowed two more runs to score to make it 9-0, before Linton hit a 2-run double to make it 11-0.
Linton was 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
"Up and down the line-up we had people contributing," Cosgray said. "We have talked to them about passing the torch to the next guy. We want them to go in there, do their job and pass it on. We did a good job of that tonight and hopefully that continues."
The only question from there was whether or not the Tigers would get the no hitter.
Cosgray went to Sloggett for the fifth inning, making his varsity baseball debut.
He gave up a lead-off walk, but got a double play for the first two outs. After an error, catcher Gavin Haines threw out the runner trying to steal second to end the game.
"It was great experience for him to come in with a lead like that," Cosgray said of Sloggett. "I'm sure there were nerves, but he settled down, he threw strikes and we made the defensive plays — that's what it's all about."
The Tigers are back in action Friday at Pike.
Cosgray said the Tigers want to take some of the momentum from Wednesday's win, while at the same time realizing it will be a brand new ball game.
"Today was a great start, but Friday is a new day," Cosgray said. "This is where we will get into our pitching depth, and that's something we have to prove to ourselves that we have. I think we have some kids that are ready to step up in those roles."
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.