When Greg Harrison emerged from the Hilton Head Island High School locker room Friday night, he admittedly had a difficult time hiding his excitement. As he talked about his performance on the mound just a few minutes earlier for the Seahawks, the smile never left his face.
"I really wanted to have a good outing tonight," Harrison said.
He was close to his best.
Pitching in his final regular season game in a Seahawks uniform, Harrison mowed down region rival Bluffton High School in a 9-0 shutout to complete Hilton Head High's undefeated Region 8-AAA season for the second consecutive year.
The right-hander only faced one hitter over the minimum in his seven-inning, 10-strikeout game. He recorded eight strikeouts in the final nine outs.
"That's vintage Greg Harrison," Seahawks coach Chris Wells said. "That's the Greg Harrison we fell in love with three years ago as a freshman. That's who he is."
The Seahawks' lineup gave Harrison all the run support he needed with a seven-run bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Jack Tillman laced a pair of the team's five hits in the inning off Bluffton starter Phillip Boni, who lasted just the one inning. Edward Brittman, Ethan Olliff and Michael Campbell also had hits in the inning.
"We jumped on them early, put a lot of pressure on them right out of the box," Wells said. "Job well done there."
And Harrison got his team right back up to the plate. He used only five pitches to record three outs in the second inning and needed just six tosses in the third.
"You always want to get your guys back in the dugout and get more chances to keep the momentum going," Harrison said.
The Seahawks defense squashed any momentum Bluffton was able to build at the plate. Zack Frazier accounted for two of the Bobcats' three hits, but catcher Elliot Van Dyke threw him out stealing in the first, and Harrison later picked him off first base to start the fourth.
"We played some real good defense tonight, and we haven't always done that this year," Wells said. "I thought we played a very well-rounded game."
They handed the Bobcats their sixth consecutive loss in the process. Bluffton will likely tie Battery Creek for second place in the Region 8-AAA standings and will wait to see if they are awarded a home game or must travel for the first round of the playoffs.
"We're concerned, frustrated -- the whole nine yards," Bluffton coach Bryant Kitty said. "We're still trying to find it."
The Seahawks (20-4), meanwhile, seem to have found their groove at the right time. They'll open the Class 3-A playoffs with home games next week on Thursday and Saturday.
"I'm excited because we're improving," Wells said. "We're a better baseball team today than we were yesterday and we were a better team yesterday than we were Wednesday.
"If we keep playing this brand of baseball, win or lose, mission accomplished."
HILTON HEAD HIGH 9, BLUFFTON 0
BLF 000 000 0 -- 033
HHH 710 010 X -- 980
WP: Greg Harrison (9-1) 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 10 K.
LP: Phillip Boni 1 IP, 8 R, 6 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP.
Hitters: Bluffton -- Zack Frazier 2-for-3; HHH -- Jack Tillman 2-for-2, 2B, BB, 2 R, RBI, Edward Brittman 2-for-3, BB, 2 R, Greg Harrison 1-for-1, 2 BB, HBP, R, RBI.