After winning another subregion title, the Harlem Bulldogs entered the Region 3-AAA championship game with high hopes.
South Effingham, the same old rival from the south subregion, was there to dash those hopes again.
"We knew we could play with them this year," Harlem junior Mike Leverett said. "We just didn't get those key hits."
South Effingham, the team that knocked off Harlem last season in the region title game, did the same thing last week in a 3-1 win.
"We played all right. We just didn't hit the ball," Harlem baseball coach Jimmie Lewis said. "I'm disappointed. We've got a much better team than last year, and I thought this was the year we were going to win the region."
Both teams scored a run in the fourth inning. Harlem's Rodney Scruggs laced a double down the third base line with one out in the bottom of the fourth.
The senior scored on the next at bat when junior Wesley Morris drove him in with an RBI single. That's the only offense Harlem produced.
South Effingham broke the tie in the final inning with a two-RBI single from catcher John Roberts. The Rebels earned three runs on six hits and played error-free ball.
Even though the outcome was the same as last season's region championship game, South Effingham baseball coach Tony Kirkland said he could see a definite improvement in the 2007 version of the Harlem team.
"They've grown up. They're much more mature in their playing ability," Kirkland said. "You can tell they're a well-coached team."
South Effingham will advance to the Class AAAA state tournament as a No. 1 seed with guaranteed home series in the first and second rounds. Harlem, which will enter the state playoffs as a No. 2 seed, earned a guaranteed home series in the first round.
The Bulldogs will open state tournament play with a double-header on Friday at home.
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