Defensive plays at the plate kept Harlem alive in Game 2 of its Georgia High School Association Class AA state tournament series, but ultimately they weren’t enough.
After losing 5-3 to Fitzgerald in Game 1, the Bulldogs surrendered runs in the fifth and sixth innings of Game 2, losing 3-0 and seeing their season come to a close.
The Bulldogs (12-15), a No. 2 seed from Region 3, were up against a tough draw as they faced Region 1’s No.3 seed, the sixth-ranked team in Class AA entering at 18-6.
“We knew we had to hit the baseball, but that’s not our forte,” Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said. “We had to get good pitching and play good defense to hang with them.”
Harlem made big plays throughout the doubleheader, especially in Game 2 when it nailed three runners at the plate, but couldn’t touch Fitzgerald’s Johnny Croley.
Croley (2-2) first came on in relief in Game 1 and got the final two outs with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. He followed that with a complete-game three-hitter. Croley also singled in Game 2’s first run off Bryson Serigney in the fifth inning and added a two-run double in the sixth.
The Purple Hurricane led 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third of Game 1 before the Bulldogs rallied for three two-out runs. Garrett Todd doubled home two runs and Bulldogs’ pitcher Collin Beasley singled in the tying run.
Beasley stopped a suicide squeeze, shoveling the ball to catcher Conner Poole to save a run in the fourth. After getting the first two outs of the fifth, Beasley surrendered a double, three walks and wild pitches that scored two runs without the benefit of a hit.