Never underestimate a Jimmie Lewis baseball team.
Harlem High School's Matt Lewis pitched for a 6-2 win over No. 7 Lakeside High School in Harlem.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lewis showed Wednesday night that despite the lofty praise given to the other three public high schools in the county, Harlem will be a team that demands respect.
The Bulldogs (1-0) upset No. 7 Lakeside, 6-2, in Harlem in the season opener for both teams. It ruined the debut of Lakeside coach Jay Matthews, who takes over for Jimmy Smith - the only baseball coach in school history until this season.
"Jay Matthews is going to be an outstanding coach in this county for a long time to come," Lewis said. "He will take Lakeside to great heights."
But Wednesday remained Lewis' night in more ways than one.
Harlem pitcher Matt Lewis shut down one of the area's best lineups in a 98-pitch, complete-game win.
Lewis gave up two runs in the first - one unearned on a wild pitch, and the other an RBI ground-out by Chris Banker.
The Harlem pitcher was on cruise control the rest of the game, getting into trouble only once with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. But Lewis induced a ground ball that shortstop Rusty James turned into a double play to end the threat.
"The double play was huge for us to kill that rally," Matt Lewis said. "Our defense stepped up like they always do."
Harlem's Mike Morris tags out Lakeside's Jimmy Johnson in the second inning of Wednesday's game. The Bulldogs (1-0) will face No. 1 Evans High School, No. 5 Greenbrier High School and Lakeside again during the next week.
Lewis also helped himself at the plate with a two-run single in the second inning that gave Harlem a 4-2 lead that it never surrendered. The Bulldogs scored the rest of their runs off Panther errors.
"Matt pitched a great game out there tonight," Jimmie Lewis said. "One of our question marks was pitching. We had a scrimmage last week and nobody pitched worth a darn.
"But if we can get performances like this, we'll be OK."
Banker pitched two innings and gave up six runs, but only two were earned. J.C. Huffman relieved Banker, striking out five and allowing only one hit during the final four innings.
Harlem will get a chance to knock off more giants when it plays No. 1 Evans, Lakeside again and No. 5 Greenbrier in the next week.
"We were upset about being ranked fourth" in the News-Times preseason rankings, Matt Lewis said. "Now we are going to show everybody that we belong. We sent a message tonight. We will earn respect."
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