Harlan’s Varner outduels Thomas Walker’s Grabeel in 1-0 victory


Jon Dickenson

Harlan’s Baylor Varner pitched a one-hitter Tuesday as the Green Dragons won 1-0 at Thomas Walker, Va.


With four losses by three runs or less only a couple of weeks into the 2023 season, the Harlan Green Dragons have already grown accustomed to the pain of hard-fought losses.
Freshman right-hander Baylor Varner made certain that didn’t happen again as he pitched a one-hitter Tuesday in a pitchers’ duel against Thomas Walker’s Cameron Grabeel. Varner struck out 10 and walked three as he pitched a shutout for his second win of the season and evened Harlan’s record at 4-4.
“Baylor threw the ball really well today, and the defense played well and made plays behind him,” Harlan coach Lee Freyer said. “It was a good team win. Most of our at bats today were battles.”
The Dragons scored the only run they would need in the third inning, thanks in large part to the speed of Jaedyn Gist, who doubled with two outs, stole third and scored when the Thomas Walker third baseman misplayed the throw.
Eight-grade first baseman Eli Freyer led the Harlan offense with two singles. Matthew Nunez, Jared Moore and Gist had one hit each.
“We had lot of quality at bats with over five pitches. We still need to cut down on the strikeouts though,” Freyer said. “Eli hit the ball well today. He’s still adjusting to high school, but he was a tough out at the plate today.”
The Dragons had only one error in support of Varner with several nice plays.
“Multiple guys made big plays on defense today. It’s good to see them grow as the season goes on,” Freyer said. “Jake Brewer made some big plays at second. Jae’dyn had a big catch in the outfield, and Donovan played solid at shortstops. We still have some things to clean up, but I was pleased overall.”
The Dragons return to action Thursday at home against Cordia.
Harlan 001 000 0 — 1. 5. 1
Thomas Walker, Va. 000 000 0 — 0. 1. 1
Varner and Owens; Grabeel and Cheek. WP — Varner (2-1). LP — Grabeel.

Harlan first baseman Eli Freyer, pictured in action earlier this season, led the Green Dragons on offense with two hits Tuesday in a 1-0 victory at Thomas Walker, Va. (Jon Dickenson)