By Jason Greenwald
For The Signal
Canyon pitcher Charles Harrison was three outs away from a no-hitter Friday afternoon when Golden Valley managed its first hit.
The UCLA commit took the mound for the Cowboys and produced 10 strikeouts with a complete game shutout that was rewarded with nine runs from their offense. It all came together in Canyon’s 9-0 win.
“We came out focused and we were ready to compete,” said Canyon head coach Justin Stark. “I think it took us all preseason and even Wednesday we weren’t really focused. I think today was a big step forward in the right direction. You know, you got somebody like Charles on the mound, when he does what he does, you’re not going to lose many games.”
Harrison stuck out the side in the top of the second inning, striking out 4 batters in the first two innings of work.
Canyon (3-5 overall, 2-0 in Foothill League) broke through in the next half inning with a leadoff single by left fielder Conrad Meza to put him on first. Meza stole second during the next at-bat, then right fielder Steven Cornell singled home Meza, putting Canyon up 1-0.
Golden Valley pitcher Bryant Colon had a rough outing due to a lack of support from the defense.
“That’s just baseball. We don’t want to make any excuses,” said Golden Valley head coach Matt Sorenson. “They were in position to make plays and they didn’t make plays and they have to rebound from that. So hopefully they put that in the memory bank and that they learned a valuable lesson.”
Canyon continued in the bottom of the second when Harrison hit a grounder, but Golden Valley (4-4, 0-2) committed an error, allowing Cornell to reach home.
Canyon went up 2-0 and continued when center fielder Noah Blythe cracked a double into the outfield, bringing in two more runs to put Canyon up 4-0.
Harrison seemed to get stronger as the game went on, striking out 2 more during the top of the third.
“I felt great. Everything was working for me today. Curveball, slider, fastball.” Harrison said. “I just tried to get ahead and keep them off balance with my off speed.”
The errors continued for Golden Valley during the bottom fourth.
Canyon loaded the bases from two Grizzly errors and a walk from Canyon’s catcher Tyler DeYoung. Blythe popped the ball up at his next at-bat, but Golden Valley’s right fielder could not catch it, leading to another Canyon run and putting them up 5-0.
With the bases still loaded, first basemen Cebastian Arriaga hit a single to bring home DeYoung and Harrison, making the score 7-0.
That was it for Colon, who did not record an out in the fourth inning. Colon pitched three innings and managed a strikeout.
Golden Valley brought in pitcher Daniel Goodwin, who immediately induced a fly ball for an out. He walked Meza and gave up a single to third basemen Mathew Garcia who brought Blythe home, making it 8-0.
Harrison lost his perfect game in the fifth inning when he gave up a walk to third baseman Chris Hwang.
“It was fun to watch. He put on a show for everyone who came out today. He’s one of the best at what he does, so it was impressive,” said Stark.
Canyon scored one more run during the sixth from Garcia, who hit a sac fly to bring home Arriaga, making it 9-0.
Harrison was now three outs away from a no-hitter entering the seventh. It looked as if he would achieve this feat until Dylan Daszek broke up the bid, lacing a single up the middle.
After giving up the single, Harrison closed out the inning, giving him a complete game shutout.
Undefeated Canyon looks to build off of their second league win at Valencia Wednesday at 3 p.m. Golden Valley will look to rebound at Hart Wednesday at 3 p.m.