By Robert Wilson

       East Union’s Landon Harmon hadn’t pitched at Trustmark Park in Pearl since he threw a perfect game in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 2A state championship series against Pisgah last year.

       The East Union junior and Mississippi State commitment wasn’t perfect Tuesday morning, but he was dominant as he allowed only three hits and had nine strikeouts in six innings to lead the Urchins to a 5-0 victory over St. Andrew’s before an estimated 800. 

       Two-time defending state champion East Union improved to 25-5 and won its 27th consecutive playoff game over the past three seasons. The Urchins have been in the state championship series seven of the last 10 seasons. St. Andrew’s, trying to win its first state title since 2018 and sixth in school history, dropped to 30-7.

       The two teams are scheduled to play Game 2 Thursday at 10 a.m. at Trustmark Park. Game 3, if necessary, is scheduled for Saturday at a time to be announced.

       Harmon allowed only singles to sophomore shortstop Justin Word in the first inning, senior leftfielder and Meridian Community College signee Walker Van Meter and sophomore second baseman John William Walker in the sixth inning. Harmon walked four, hit one batter and didn’t allow a runner to third base. He left the game after the sixth inning and threw 104 pitches, two short of the MHSAA requirement to sit out four days so now he can come back at pitch in Game 3 Saturday if necessary. Freshman third baseman Luke Elder pitched the seventh inning.

       The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Harmon – the Class 2A Player of the Year – came into the game with an 8-1 record and a 1.90 earned run average and 88 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings this season.

       East Union scored two runs in the first inning and three more runs in the third inning. Harmon, who came in with a .416 batting average, had two hits and scored two runs.

       St. Andrew’s coach Mark Fanning is in his fifth state baseball championship series in his 27th season at the Ridgeland school. In addition to winning it in 2018, he was runner-up in 2001, 2007 and 2009.