Behind a three-hit shutout by Johnathan Harmon, Leesville picked up a district win in game one of a doubleheader.
The Wampus Cats scored just one run, but that is all it needed in its 1-0 win over Buckeye Thursday night at Leesville High School.
"John Harmon is as advertised," Leesville head coach Oscar Reed said. "From day one, when he has the ball, we know what we are going to get. My only deal is that we put a big emphasis on playing well behind him and putting up runs. We put up one, and that's the name of the game. If you put up more than the other other team, you get the win. We pulled it out today."
Harmon struck out 12 over seven innings with his breaking ball keeping Buckeye batters off balance.
"As soon as I get to the ballpark, I know if I have it or I don't," Harmon said. "Coach Reed and the coaching staff prepared me for the game, and I just follow the game plan."
In the second inning, with one out and runners on second and third, Harmon stuck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Harley Gill reached on a double and was moved over to third base after a sacrifice bunt by Noah Allain.
The next batter, Baylor Dillon, hit a ball past the second baseman to score Gill for the lone run of the game.
Buckeye threatened in the seventh inning with two runners on, but the Wampus Cats got out of the inning with a ground ball to Caleb Westfall and a strikeout by Harmon to end the game.
"That was the best defensive game we've played all year," Harmon said. "Coach Reed prepares us for that, and we just have to execute."
Leesville did not record a strikeout at the plate to put pressure on the Buckeye defense.
"Their pitcher on the mound was tough, too," Reed said. "That was pitching duel. The guys got bunts down, and we won the error battle too.."
Jacob Umbrell made his second start behind the plate for Leesville after being called up from JV and his impact was shown with his defense.
"He's been tearing it up on JV, and he's a sophomore," Reed said. "We wanted to give him some game experience before district and it payed off for us today. We usually have Noah Allain back there, but he's probably around third best outfielder. Jacob Umbrell isn't a No. 2 catcher; we have two No. 1 catchers."
The win brings the Leesville's record to 12-9 and 1-1 in district play, an improvement over past seasons.
"Being in the program for three years, this is the best year we've had so far," Harmon said. "We've got a lot of talent, great coaching and it's fun. We have a winning record for the first time since I've been here."
Leesville fell in game two of the doubleheader to Buckeye, 4-3, after taking an early lead.
The Wampus Cats scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning on a three-run home run by Tristian Doyle to take a 3-2 lead, but Buckeye scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning to retake the lead.
Sabian Matuu struck out 13 in six innings for Leesville and allowed six hits.
Doyle went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the Wampus Cats at the plate.