After losing in the championship game in 2015, the Harlan Cyclones earned their first 3A baseball championship since 2003 with a dominating 9-3 victory over the seventh-ranked Carlisle Wildcats, Saturday night at Principal Park. All nine batters for Harlan tallied a hit while Nick Tarney paced the team going 2-for-3 with four RBI.
Harlan jumped out to an early lead as the Cyclones put two runs on the board in the first inning. Dillon Sears and Kyle Juhl led off the game with back-to-back singles up the middle for Harlan. A double to deep left field off the bat of Nick Tarney drove both runs home, giving Harlan the 2-0 lead.
Peyton Stephens ignited the Wildcats’ offense in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single to center field. Carlisle cut the Harlan lead in half with a RBI-single down the left field line by Anthony Hanson. The Wildcats tied the game at two in the second following a stand-up triple by Jordan Pierce, who was knocked home with a groundout to second base.
The Cyclones opened the third inning with a single to left field by Nolan Hesse followed by a free pass to first for Dillon Sears. Sears scored on a throwing error by the Wildcats’ right fielder while Tarney and Josh Cheek drilled consecutive RBI-singles to break the tie and make the score 5-2.
Harlan broke the game wide open in the fourth as the Carlisle pitching staff gave up two runs off a walk and a hit batter. Brett Croghan continued the hitting brigade for Harlan, driving a single to the warning track in right field to score two and give the Cyclones a commanding 9-2 lead.
Harlan added an insurance run in the sixth and two in the seventh while the Wildcats responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a RBI-single to right by Nic McCay. Carlisle rallied in the bottom of the seventh with a sacrifice fly to score one but fell short, 12-4.
Jordan Pierce led Carlisle’s offensive effort batting 1.000 (3-for-3) with a run scored.
Brett Croghan pitched a complete game for the Cyclones allowing four runs on nine hits while walking one and sitting down six batters on strikes.
Harlan finishes the season 30-5.
Carlisle ends at 33-7.