Greenbrier's Ben Dukes pitches against Harlem.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Another day, another game.
That could be the Harlem baseball team's mantra after the Bulldogs have played five games in eight days. Three of those games have come against ranked teams.
Harlem (1-4) ended, on Wednesday, what coach Jimmie Lewis called the "murderer's row" of its schedule. The Bulldogs beat Lakeside and lost to Evans, Mary Persons and Lakeside. The stretch ended with a 5-2 home loss to No. 4 Greenbrier.
"I'm glad it's over," Lewis said of the five-game stretch. "I hope this will make us better by playing the level of competition we did."
Against the Wolfpack, Harlem was undone by its own defense.
Harlem committed four errors - including three booted grounders - in the second inning and the Wolfpack came away with three unearned runs, two of which came on a two-run single by Rich Poythress.
"We got out quick and that was important," said Poythress. "Especially with the lack of offense we had against Westside (a 2-1 loss)."
Harlem pitcher Matt Lewis (1-1) overcame the second-inning struggles and pitched effectively for much of the game. He tossed a 117-pitch complete-game effort, finishing with eight strikeouts and surrendering two earned runs.
Greenbrier's Tanner Helfrich slides safely into second base between the legs of Harlem's Mike Morris. The Wolfpack defeated the Bulldogs 5-2.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"He has been a very pleasant surprise for us this season," Jimmie Lewis said. "He has been real strong in his outings."
The Bulldogs closed the Greenbrier lead to one run after a two-run double by Rusty James in the bottom of the fifth.
Greenbrier (2-1) responded with a two-run single by USC Aiken signee Brad Ramsbotham after an intentional walk to Poythress - his third intentional pass of the game.
"We weren't going to give Poythress anything to hit," said Jimmie Lewis. "He will kill you if you give him anything. But give all the credit in the world to Ramsbotham. He made us pay big. But I didn't want to take my chances with Poythress."
Harlem had gotten Ramsbotham out the three previous times he came to the plate before the sixth. He had stranded six runners before his two-run single.
"I really struggled out there tonight," said Ramsbotham. "I don't like when they walk (Poythress). You hate to take a bat out of his hands. But I'm expected to step up as a senior."
Harlem threatened again in the sixth inning getting runners on second and third with no outs. But Ben Dukes got Matt Lewis to fly out to right fielder Rafeal Parks. Felix Chinea tagged and tried to score but Parks threw a laser to get Chinea out for a double-play.
"That was sick," said Poythress of the throw. "I mean, that's a throw big leaguers make. That was amazing."
Dukes (2-0) struck out the next hitter and ended the game with a complete game, five-hit effort.
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