East Union and Pisgah played the first game of the MHSAA Class 2A Baseball State Championship on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.

By Robert Wilson
Photos by Chris Todd

       Pisgah played in a state championship baseball series for the first time in school history.

       Unfortunately for the Dragons, they ran into an experienced state championship team with an outstanding pitcher.

       Defending MHSAA Class 2A state champion East Union and sophomore right-hander and Mississippi State commitment Landon Harmon defeated Pisgah 14-0 in five innings and Harmon threw a perfect game in Game 1 of the best-of-three series at Trustmark Park in Pearl.

       Pisgah, which was one of the hottest teams entering the championship series, couldn’t get anything going offensively and had trouble slowing down East Union’s offense. The Dragons had won 11 of its last 12 games before Wednesday but dropped to 25-9. East Union, which has won three state titles and three runner-up finishes since 2016, improved to 30-5 won its ninth game in a row and 20th of its last 21 games.

       Game 2 is scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. at Trustmark Park. Game 3, in necessary, is scheduled for Saturday. Time to be announced.

       Harmon – whose fastball was in the low 90s – struck out nine and his defense fielded the other six balls hit to the field. He improved to 8-1 and dropped his earned run average to 0.99 and has 103 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 63 2/3 innings. It was the first perfect game at an MHSAA state championship series since 2011. Harmon threw only 63 pitches.

       Senior shortstop and South Alabama signee Rett Johnson, senior second baseman and Itawamba Community College signee Jude Treadway, senior first baseman Ross Cochran, had three hits each and sophomore centerfielder Drew Holliman had two hits. Cochran had five runs batted in.

       Pisgah coach Sam Starnes has led the Dragons to their first state championship series in school history. He had guided Pisgah to two semifinal appearances in his three seasons at the Rankin County school. The Dragons had never made it past the second round of the playoffs before Starnes got there.

“Their guy (Harmon) was good today,” Starnes said. “He pounded the zone and we weren’t ready for the velocity after having not seen that in a while. Credit to him for filling the zone and having good stuff.

“We didn’t play well, played a little tight and nervous. We got to get a feel for the atmosphere for the first time today so hopefully Friday we can come out and play the way we have all year. We didn’t play our best ball today, but look to rebound and get back to what we’re been doing all year in Game 2.”