Baseball Breds begin 2014 with 6-2 win over Grant County Saturday

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By Mike Aldridge

Harrison County Coach Mac Whitaker picked up his 988th career win Saturday, but it wasn’t easy as his Thorobreds had to come from two runs down to defeat Grant County, 6-2.
The game was scoreless through the first three innings as Harrison senior hurler Nolan Brossart and Braves junior hurler Jason Goe were doing a masterful job on the mound.  
The home-standing Thorobreds almost plated a run in the bottom of the third when, with one out, shortstop Brett Persinger singled and advanced to third on a passed ball and an error after a Noah Mitchell strike out.  The threat ended when Robbie Stroub flied to deep center.  
The Grant County team struck in the top of the fourth when catcher Lucas Alger walked on four pitches to start the inning and Goe took a one-two-count pitch over the left center field fence for a 2-0 Braves lead.  
Brossart struck out the side to end the inning giving him six for the game, but the Thorobreds trailed in the season opener.
The lead was short lived for Grant County as the Breds roared back in the bottom of the inning.  
After one out, senior left fielder Zach Royce was hit by a pitch followed by a Conner Free single to place base runners on the corners with one out.  
Zach Day then looped one just over the shortstop’s head to score Royce to cut the lead in half at 2-1.  
C.J. Claypool struck out for the second out but Persinger tallied his second single of the day to score Free and tie the game.  
Mitchell was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Day scored on a passed ball for a 3-2 Harrison County lead.  
Gus Garrison struck out leaving the Breds with the one run advantage going into the fifth inning.  
Coach Whitaker brought in senior John King to replace Brossart in the fifth and the tall, talented right hander set the Braves down on two hits and four strikeouts for the last three innings.  
Harrison County put three insurance runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth for the final 6-2 verdict.  
Claypool led off the sixth with a double into the left-center gap that rolled to the fence.  
Mitchell walked but Persinger and pinch hitter Luke Slucher went down on strikes for two outs.  
Stroub beat out an infield single to load the bases and King drew a walk for the fourth run.  
Royce then hit a gap shot of his own for a two-run double for the final count.  
The Breds pitching allowed only three hits, walked two and struck out 10.  
The pitching effort was supported by a couple of fielding gems by Claypool and Mitchell while the team played error-free baseball.  
Harrison County gathered nine hits and left nine base runners stranded. Brett Persinger was two for three to lead the attack.  
The Thorobreds’ Monday game with Nicholas County was moved to Wednesday due to wet grounds and cold.