It was a historic night at Harlem’s softball field Thursday.
When the Lady Bulldogs beat Evans 4-2, it was the first time since the schools started playing fastpitch softball in 1997 that Harlem had beaten the Lady Knights.
Harlem’s six-year head coach Mike Leverett enjoyed beating Evans head coach Colette Cassedy for once.
“I had never beat them,” said Leverett with a big grin. “I don’t take it hard when she beats me. I hate it, but we’re good friends and it’s always a good game when we play them.”
Thursday night was no different as the Lady Bulldogs (7-4) made the most of the four hits they got off Evans pitcher Lexi Dodgen (3-3).
“I didn’t start off ahead always, but I worked my way through it,” said Dodgen.
A walk, single, sacrifice bunt and consecutive doubles from Haley Mays and Lindsey Stokes gave the Lady Bulldogs a 3-0 third-inning lead.
That would be enough for Lady Bulldogs freshman pitcher Amber Garrett (5-2), who battled her way through seven innings. The Lady Knights (3-4-1) managed nine hits and had at least two runners on base in each of the last four innings, but could only push one run across while stranding eight.
Garrett would finish with four strikeouts and just one walk.
History wasn’t lost on her.
“I’ve been thinking about this game all day, trying to prepare myself mentally and physically for this game,” said Garrett. “Evans and Harlem have always had a rivalry and we haven’t beaten them in 13 or 14 years.”
Leverett was impressed with her grit.
“She hung in there,” he said.
The Lady Knights pushed across a run in the fourth inning on the first of Taylor McChesney’s two doubles, but after walking Dodgen, Garrett got a strikeout to end the inning.
Tori Poss answered for the Lady Bulldogs in the bottom half with a blast over the left-field fence. Her hit was historic as well.
“I couldn’t believe it to be honest,” the senior said of her first career home run.
A Savannah Gabriel single brought McChesney home in the sixth inning, but that would be all the Lady Knights would get.
“It was a good game, it could have gone either way,” Cassedy said. “I’ve known Mike (Leverett) a long time. I know he really wanted this.”