Emotions ran high in both dugouts last Tuesday when Evans traveled to Harlem for a non-region rivalry game. The Bulldogs ran the gamut of emotions through nine innings of hard-fought baseball.
"Heck of a ball game," Harlem baseball coach Jimmie Lewis said. "We were sky high when we got up by seven. They tied it up, and we went down in a valley. It was an up-and-down deal all the way."
Harlem eventually survived with an 8-7 victory in extra innings. The roller coaster game saw the Bulldogs take a 7-0 lead through two innings thanks to some timely hitting. All seven runs came with two outs and forced Evans starting pitcher Kyle Golden out before the end of the second inning.
"We knew we had to battle. They're always well coached and do the little things right," Evans baseball coach Ricky Beale said. "I was proud of our kids. They didn't quit."
Evans mounted a rally over the next two innings and eventually tied the game at 7-7 with a Stuart Caughman two-RBI single in the top of the fifth inning. Meanwhile, four more Evans pitchers combined to keep Harlem scoreless through six straight innings.
Harlem sophomore Phillip Summers took over on the mound in the sixth inning and shut down the Evans bats.
Summers gave up only two hits in four innings of work including five strike outs. His final pitch of the night, an outside fastball, struck out Evans sophomore Brandon McCladdie and gave Harlem a chance to plate the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Junior Mike Leverett, who hit a three-run home run in the second inning, came through again on a high-bouncing grounder to score the game-winning run.
"Our pitching won the game," Leverett said. "Phillip came in and nobody was going to score on him."
Summers, a sophomore, picked up the win in relief for the Bulldogs. Harlem has now defeated Lakeside and Evans this season, and the Bulldogs will travel to Greenbrier on Friday to attempt a Columbia County sweep.
"We like being the No. 5 team," Lewis said, citing his team's preseason ranking in the county. "I never would have dreamed we'd be 2-0."
The Bulldogs, who also traveled to Glascock County on Wednesday for a 10-2 win, will next face Evans on the road on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
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