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Drew Harrison, Chase Russell and the baseball game they'll never forget

The two best friends, pitching for opposing teams, both turned in the starts of their lives

In Bruce Springsteen’s ballpark classic “Glory Days,” the Boss tells us that time, eventually, slips away, leaving us with “nothing mister, but boring stories of glory days.”

But no matter how much time passes, best buds Drew Harrison and Chase Russell will struggle to make Tuesday’s Madison Central - Germantown baseball game into a boring story.

Harrison, pitching for Germantown High in Gluckstadt, and Russell, pitching for Madison Central, each missed a perfect game by one batter.

Harrison gave up one walk — to Russell in the top of the fourth, and Russell gave up one hit — a bottom-of-the-fourth home run off the bat of Harrison, in a 1-0 win for the Mavericks.

It was a fitting end to a pitcher’s duel between the former travel ball teammates who had played together for the Madison Bombers since they were seven.

“It was the most fun baseball game I’ve ever been a part of,” Russell said. “I know we lost, but just going back and forth like that with one of my best friends, it was crazy.”

The two pitchers were electric — both of them struck out nine hitters and allowed exactly one base runner.

Harrison, a Tulane signee, had his complete repertoire at his disposal. He had full command of his fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, throwing all four pitches for strikes whenever he wanted.

He retired the first 11 batters he faced before issuing the walk to Russell. After getting ahead 1-2, Harrison tried to nibble and left the payoff pitch a bit outside.

“I was trying to keep it a little high and get him to swing under it,” Harrison said. “And I just left it a little too far out there.”

Harrison struck out the next batter to strand Russell’s courtesy runner, but the walk broke up the perfect game bid.

Russell, a Southern Miss signee with a high-velocity fastball and a nasty slider, had punched out five of the nine batters he faced in the first three innings, including Harrison, when his buddy came back up to start the bottom of the fourth.

Russell started him off with a curveball low and inside, and Harrison was not fooled. The right-handed hitter turned on it, launching it over the left field wall.

“It wasn’t a terrible pitch,” Russell said. “He just dropped the barrel and hit it out. Props to him.”

Both pitchers were perfect the rest of the night. Harrison notched the no-hitter, the first of his high school career, and Russell left with one of the hardest-luck losses imaginable.

Tulane signee Drew Harrison tossed a no-hitter for the Germantown Mavericks against his best friend Chase Russell and the Madison Central Jaguars on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Gluckstadt, Miss.

Tulane signee Drew Harrison tossed a no-hitter for the Germantown Mavericks against his best friend Chase Russell and the Madison Central Jaguars on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Gluckstadt, Miss.

“He’s an elite pitcher,” Harrison said of his friend Russell. “I mean he threw a perfect game outside of one pitch. He throws a lot of strikes, so you have to hit the ball to beat him, and man, it’s tough.”

Russell and Harrison, both senior pitchers and third basemen for their respective programs, have remained the best of friends since leaving travel ball behind and starting their high school careers.

They hang out after school most every day, and occasionally go to “recovery” together at Madison’s Professional Therapy Solutions after their respective starts. They were both there Wednesday morning.

“It was like something out of a movie,” Russell said. “It’s wild that we both pitched so well in the same game.”

The two teams play their final game against each other Thursday night, and Germantown coach Chris Peden joked it’ll probably be a 16-15 slug-fest.

“This is a crazy game we’re playing out here,” he said. “It’s wild that you can coach baseball for 22 years like I have and you still see something like that game last night that just blows you away.”

There’s an outside shot we could see the same pitching rematch in the post-season, but it probably wouldn’t come until at least the third round of the MHSAA Class 7A Playoffs.

The season is still young, but the trajectory of both teams makes it a real possibility.

Madison Central is 7-3 with wins over West Lauderdale, Brandon and Ridgeland, while Germantown is 8-2 with signature wins over Northwest Rankin and — more recently — Madison Central.

“We’ve played some tough competition,” Russell said. “But we’ve looked really good. This group has really gelled and, one through nine, we can really swing it. We didn’t last night, but we faced a great pitcher.”