By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
ANDERSON, Mo. —
Carl Junction, lifted by Brandon Harnar’s pitching and Austin Niemeyer’s two-run double, was the only nonfavorite to triumph as the Triple A District 15 Tournament opened on Tuesday.
Carl Junction defeated second-seeded Webb City 8-2 behind the right-handed Harnar’s nine-inning complete game in muggy weather in the middle game at the McDonald County High School diamond.
The Carthage Merchants clipped the host 7-5 in the first game and Monett trimmed Cassville 23-6 in seven innings to wrap up the opening session.
Today’s schedule starts at 1 p.m. with Carthage challenging No. 1 seed Joplin.
Carl Junction, 8-2
The 5-foot-9, 145-pound Harnar, who’ll be a senior at Carl Junction High School, allowed just three hits and struck out seven. The runs were unearned.
“I didn’t expect to go nine innings,” Harnar said. “But I wanted to go as long as I could and I still felt strong at the end.”
Said Post 781 coach Flave Darnell: “Brandon just keeps improving. He’s been a big bright spot on the mound for us this summer.
“The fastball, because he consistently kept it down, was his best pitch,” Darnell said.
Niemeyer’s blow keyed a three-run eighth inning that gave Carl Junction a 6-2 advantage.
Carl Junction’s Zach Beyer, who reached by forcing the walking Branche McGriff (who earlier rapped a two-run single), scored on a balk in the sixth inning to snap a 2-2 tie.
Said Webb City coach Chris Taylor: “Harnar did a nice job. They also did enough on offense. They took advantage of some situations. We had trouble competing at the plate.”
Niemeyer joined Nathan Landes and Tyler Armentrout with two hits for Post 781.
Ryan Jinks’ three hits keyed a 14-hit salvo by the Merchants. He also worked the last two innings to save the game for fellow right-hander Sawyer Shepherd.
Carthage also got two hits from Shepherd, Miles Goade, Shaw Robertson and Zach Renfro.
Jamie Hanke had three hits and as many RBI for McDonald County. Emitt Dalton and Dagan Stites each had two hits.
Said Carthage coach Doug Baugh: “I believe we’re 4-0 against McDonald County this summer and each game has been competitive.
“We got a lot of production from the bottom of the order,” Baugh said. “We had several two-out hits.”
Said Post 392 coach Nick Martin: “We left too many runners in scoring position. An example came in the eighth inning when we had a leadoff triple by Hanke and didn’t score. We also squandered a good opportunity in the second inning.
“I was pleased with the way our starting pitcher, (right-hander) Dakota Stites, competed,” Martin added. “Also, the Carthage center fielder (Jared Heman) made a nice running catch against us to end an inning.”
Second baseman Jordan Hall and first baseman Colin Garner hit home runs and shortstop Kole Kelley added four hits for Post 91.
Monett coach Michael Calhoun said the teams had split four previous games.
“I was confident before the game. But you don’t expect to score that many runs,” Calhoun said. “We hit the ball well. We hit it hard everywhere.”
Blake Spain, a right-hander, worked all seven innings on the mound for Monett.
Monett scored at least two runs in each inning and Calhoun thought Post 91 struck for six in the second and sixth innings.