Easton Harmsen might have lost some command during a two-run, 34-pitch first inning against St. Joseph Post 11 Tuesday night at Hidden Valley Park, but the Blue Springs Post 499 starter didn’t lose any confidence, or his sense of humor.
Both runs were unearned, thanks to two Fike errors, and Harmsen rebounded to throw six innings of no-run ball to lead Fike to a 7-2 victory in the first of two games against the visitors from St. Joseph.
He left the game with a 3-2 lead after throwing 101 pitches through six innings.
“I wanted to show them everything I had in that first inning,” quipped Harmsen, who allowed just four hits to go along with four strikeouts. “It wasn’t my best inning, but I was confident our team would get some runs, and I would settle down out there and pitch well the rest of the game.”
Which is exactly what he did.
“They saw every pitch Easton has in that first inning,” joked Fike coach Matt Hagerty, after his team improved to 15-10. “He’s such a gamer, such a battler. We expected a good game from him, and that’s exactly what he gave us.
“And our M.O. of struggling offensively, but still managing to string together some hits for a big inning was true again tonight.”
Fike trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the third inning when Christian Lynn singled, moved to second on a stolen base and scored on Cade Rardon’s RBI single.
Fike took a 3-2 lead when John Miles walked and Brad Kitsmiller and Aaron Jones singled to load the bases. With two outs, Lynn hit a sharp grounder that glanced off the glove of the Post 11 second baseman, allowing two runs to score.
Fike broke the game open with a five-hit, four-run sixth inning as Deryk Carey, Nathan Fine and Rardon collected RBIs with another run scoring on a Post 11 error.
Lynn then entered the game and pitched a scoreless seventh inning to make sure his teammate collected the win.
“I’m not a closer,” said Lynn, who struck out the first batter he faced, “so it felt great to see us score those four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. I felt a lot more confident with a 7-2 lead than a 3-2 lead. I really wanted to pitch well so we got the win and Easton got the win after he pitched such a great game after that first inning.”
The win was a big way for Fike to start a week that Hagerty said will include six league games.
“It’s nice to get back to the routine of league play, after last week’s Wood Bat Invitational where our guys were part of the grounds crew and played a lot of late-night games (two that started at 10 p.m.),” Hagerty said.
“This is a great way to start. We’ve been an interesting team this year. We’ve received good pitching, and struggled some offensively, but like tonight — we have the big sixth inning and that leads to the 7-2 win.”