A young Harlem High School team got its season off to a promising start while playing host to the Chick-fil-A Softball Classic.
For two days at Patriots Park, the Lady Bulldogs batters hammered away at their opponents, scoring 51 runs while posting a 5-0 record. They beat Hart County 10-2 and Calvary Day 10-5 on Friday, then came back Saturday to beat Westside 13-1, Elbert County 11-7 and won the tournament with a 7-4 win over Thomson.
Coach Mike Leverett’s lineup proved to be a blend of speed and power throughout, with the first five batters giving opponents fits.
Junior Ashley Lunz scored seven runs and senior Christian Mullis scored eight times from the leadoff and No. 2 slot, respectively. Senior Lindsey Stokes, the 2012 Region 3-AA player of the year, finished the weekend with five hits and nine RBI, sophomore Amber Garrett added five hits from her cleanup spot and sophomore Bailey Sheppard added eight hits and five RBI while batting .615.
Garrett, the 2012 Region 3-AA pitcher of the year, started where she left off, pitching a complete-game three-hitter while striking out eight in the season-opening win over Hart County. She pitched a scoreless seventh inning against Calvary Day in Friday’s nightcap then won twice more on Saturday to run her record to 3-0.
“Amber threw a lot of pitches tonight and wasn’t on her game, but she still put us in great shape to win,” said Leverett of Garrett’s win over Hart County.
Stokes had two hits in four trips to the plate while driving in four runs. Sheppard added three hits while Lunz and freshman Madison Summers had two apiece.
Leverett was happy with the way his new starters performed.
“We had young girls lead the hitting,” said Leverett. “If they get on base we’ll have a good offensive threat.”
Against Calvary Day, sophomore Lizzie Drake walked three batters in the first two innings as the Lady Cavaliers scored twice. Both were unearned, however, as the Lady Bulldogs’ defense committed two errors behind her. Drake settled down and got the win going six innings with the three walks and a strikeout while giving up eight hits.
“Lizzie (Drake) threw the ball real good coming up to this game, I think she was a little nervous,” said Leverett. “She’ll be better tomorrow.”
Drake pitched a complete game on Saturday, running her record to 2-0.
Stokes hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run and freshman first baseman Cassie Blizzard pounded out two doubles.
In their season-opener Friday at the tournament, the Grovetown Lady Warriors overcame a 9-1 deficit to take down Washington-Wilkes 18-9 in a run-rule shortened five innings.
The Lady Warriors weren’t sharp early, committing six errors in the first three innings as the Lady Tigers built their lead.
After the Lady Warriors scored six runs in the third without a hit, pitcher Megan McCook threw consecutive 1-2-3 innings.
McCook (1-0) finished the game allowing the nine runs (five earned) on six hits while striking out six.
The Lady Warriors scored two in the fourth to tie it and then exploded for eight in the fifth to end it. They worked Lady Tiger pitchers for 16 walks with every player in the lineup scoring. Elizabeth Metress paced the team with two hits including a triple and drove in two runs.
“Those first few innings were awful offensively and defensively for us, but after that we never really looked back, we gathered momentum and kept riding it,” said Lady Warriors head coach Jeff Davis.