Harlem drew first blood in the Region 3-AAA tournament's final day Tuesday, but Thomson finished the day on top.
After a long day of play with Thomson needing to win three games, the Bulldogs won consecutive games over the Bulldogs of Harlem. A 6-1 victory sealed the region championship.
Despite finishing runner-up, Harlem will play host to a first-round series in the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state playoffs. The first round starts Wednesday with a doubleheader. A third game would be played Thursday if the teams split the first two.
In Tuesday's first game, Harlem held off a late rally by Thomson to win 6-5.
The loss placed Thomson in the losers' bracket, while Harlem took a break while awaiting a finals opponent. Thomson walloped Washington County 25-5 to get another crack at Harlem.
Thomson bounced back and handed Harlem a 9-2 defeat, setting up a rubber match. Thomson then earned their first region championship in softball in the decisive game.
"We had chances, but we swung at bad pitches and didn't play good defense," said Harlem coach Mike Leverett. "I said before the game ever started on Tuesday that it would come down to pitching and which team could play the best defense."
In the final game, Thomson took a 2-0 lead before Harlem tallied its first and only run of the game in the second inning on Kristen Mills' solo home run .
It remained a 2-1 game until the fifth, when Thomson pushed across another run.
Thomson rallied for three runs on six hits in the top of the seventh to increase its lead to 6-1.
Then, Thomson's Brooke Herkel, who pitched all six games of the tournament -- including four games Tuesday -- worked to strike out Harlem catcher Morgan Barton, the leadoff batter in the seventh.
She then got center fielder Hadley Mays on a come-backer for the second out. After issuing a walk, Herkel struck out shortstop Tori Poss to finish it.
"This is the reason I came to Thomson," said Thomson coach Jason Osborn. "This is a stepping stone for our program."
The past two seasons, Thomson had been runner-up in its quest to win a region championship, falling to West Laurens of Dublin.
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