The Harlem High School Lady Bulldogs faced little resistance Wednesday night as they battered Thomasville en route to the second round of the Georgia High School Association Class AA state softball playoffs.
After Thomasville jumped out with a run in the first inning in the opener of the teams' doubleheader, the Lady Bulldogs outscored them 23-0, winning game one 12-1 and finishing the sweep with an 11-0 whitewash.
The Lady Bulldogs' (26-6) senior third baseman Lindsey Stokes helped fuel the offensive outburst after not seeing any pitches to hit during the region tournament. She lined a triple in her first at-bat, followed by a double and then blasted a home run well over the right-centerfield fence in game one before she was lifted in the bottom of the fourth inning. She added an RBI walk and RBI double in game two, finishing with six RBI for the night.
"I feel like I'm getting back in my groove," Stokes said.
Pitcher Amber Garrett, who contributed five hits and five RBI was surprised her teammate got a number of pitches to hit.
"I don't think they knew what she could do," Garrett said.
The sophomore Garrett (20-5) surrendered a leadoff triple in game one, which eventually scored on a wild pitch, but that would be all Garrett would allow for the doubleheader. She struck out six in three innings of work in the first game allowing the one hit as freshman Lillie Streets finished the final two innings with two strikeouts of her own. In Garrett's second outing, she mowed down 11 in five innings of work giving up singles in the first and fourth innings.
In the second inning of game one, leading 2-0, Micah Mullis reached on error then Emily Aplin and Ashley Lunz beat out infield hits. In what was a key moment at the time, Harlem coach Mike Leverett sent junior Morgan Hobbins to the plate as a pinch hitter and she came through with a two-run single to extend the lead to 4-0.
"She's been doing that all year," Leverett said. "She swings the bat real well."
Stokes then drilled a double to the wall scoring two more and Garrett's single through the box plated Stokes. Cassie Blizzard doubled to the base of the wall and Christian Mullis singled home a run to end the six-run inning.
The second game was scoreless heading into the fourth inning when the Lady Bulldogs erupted for seven runs, highlighted by Christian Mullis' leadoff triple and freshman Blizzard's first career home run, a line drive shot over the left field fence. Christian Mullis would finish with four hits on the night.
The Lady Bulldogs will face the Vidalia-Putnam County winner at home on Wednesday, October 23. Garrett knows it will take the same kind of focus they've had all postseason to move on.
"I think we're going to go in with the same mentality, just ready to win, determined, just try to make it back to Columbus and take it from there," Garrett said.