A season that surprised Harlem High School head baseball coach Jimmie Lewis came to and end Friday night.
In the opening round of the Georgia High School Association Class AA state baseball tournament, the Bulldogs were swept by the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane, losing Game 1, 5-3, and the nightcap, 3-0.
"The first game we scored our season average of three, the second game we didn't score any and that's just the way it goes," said Lewis.
The Bulldogs (12-15) entered the tournament as Region 3's No. 2 seed facing the Purple Hurricane, Region 1's No.3 seed; the sixth-ranked team in Class AA entering with an 18-6 record.
"We knew we had to hit the baseball, but that's not our forte," said Lewis. "We had to get good pitching and play good defense to hang with them."
The Purple Hurricane got runners on but the Bulldogs made them work for their runs. In Game 1, the Bulldogs stopped a suicide squeeze with starting pitcher Collin Beasley shoveling the ball to catcher Conner Poole in the sixth inning.
In Game 2, centerfielder Dalton Green gunned down a runner at the plate in the first inning and third baseman Hunter Rippe nailed a runner trying to score on a tapper down the line in the second inning. In the fifth inning with a runner on third, starting pitcher Bryson Serigney fielded a bunt, flipped it to Poole, he threw it to Rippe at third who then relayed it back to Serigney who tagged the runner out before he could reach the plate.
The Purple Hurricane led 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning of Game 1 before the Bulldogs rallied for three two-out runs. Garrett Todd doubled home two runs and Beasley singled in the tying run.
After getting the first two outs of the fifth, Beasley (5-4) surrendered a double, three walks and wild pitches that scored two runs without the benefit of a hit.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't touch Johnny Croley who got the final two outs in relief of Caleb Ray, who got the win.
After earning the save, Croley (2-2) got the Game 2 win, holding the Bulldogs to just three hits. Croley also drove in all three runs-one in the fifth and two in the sixth-off Serigney (5-4), who allowed seven hits while striking out eight and walking seven (two intentionally).
"I thought Bryson (Serigney) pitched a heck of a ballgame," Lewis said. "You've got to give them credit, they hit it when they needed to hit it and those those two lefthanders (Ray and Croley) did a good job."
Lewis was impressed in the long run with what his team was able to accomplish.
"I think they were a bunch of overachievers," Lewis said. "I don't see how in the world we got second in the region with the lack of hitting we had and I don't see how we got to this point. To their credit we got to this point and run up against somebody who was better than us today and that's the way it goes."