Dragons record statement win over Middlesboro to end 13-game skid


Jon Dickenson

Harlan’s Baylor Varner delivered a pitch in Monday’s game against Middlesboro. Varner struck out 12 in six innings and gave up two earned runs as the Dragons ended a 13-game-losing streak against the Jackets with a 4-3 victory.

With four wins in their last five games, the Harlan Green Dragons were a team on the rise going into their district opener Monday against visiting Middlesboro.
All wins aren’t quite the same though as the Dragons discovered in a come-from-behind 4-3 thriller against the Jackets. Harlan ended a 13-game losing streak against Middlesboro stretching back to 2015. The Dragons had lost 32 of 34 games going back to their last regular-season win over the Jackets in 2006.
“I think it’s been since 2015 since we’ve beaten Middlesboro. Most of this bunch was either in kindergarten or first grade at that time,” Harlan coach Lee Freyer said. “We could’ve easily given up down 3-1, but we just kept fighting. Jared (Moore) and Aiden Johnson had two key hits in the sixth. It was great to see those guys step up in that moment. I’m so happy for them, and so happy for this group of guys.”
Down 3-1 going Ito the sixth inning, the Dragons scored three times. Donovan Montanaro walked to open the inning, and Jaedyn Gist followed with a single. Jared Moore singled home two runs to tie the game, then pinch-runner Gunnar Snelling scored the go-ahead run on Aiden Johnson’s double.
Varner struck out 12 and walked four in six strong innings on the mound when he walled three runs (two earned) on three hits. Luke Luttrell struck out two and gave up one hit, leaving the potential tying run on third base to end the game.
Conner Winterberger had two hits for the 4-5 Jackets. Cayden Grigsby and Brady Carroll had one hit each.
“It was a good team win and I’m proud of all the guys. Baylor pitched great and Luke came in and closed it out,” Harlan coach Lee Freyer said. “The sixth inning has killed us so far this season, but tonight we turned that around. That’s a good feeling to turn that corner. It’s all about consistency right now. We have to show up every day prepared to play. I told the boys it’s always good to start out 1-0 in district play, but we have to come back and play that same bunch tomorrow.”
Gist led the 7-5 Dragons with two singles. Johnson had a double, and Moore contributed a single.
The two teams meet again Tuesday at Middlesboro.
Middlesboro 000 210 0 — 3. 4. 1
Harlan 001 003 x — 4. 4. 1
Winterberger and C. Bayless; Varner, Luttrell (7) and Owens. WP — Varner (3-1). LP — Winterberger. SV — Luttrell.