bulldogs baseball 6

Harlem Bulldogs state bound after May 10 doubleheader win

HARLEM – Harlem is one step closer to its second straight 3A Georgia High School Baseball State Championship after defeating Oconee County in the semifinals on Friday, May 10. 

Harlem won Game One over Oconee County 6-1. 

Harlem is one step closer to the state title after sweeping two Friday. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Will Holder, the team’s top player who has been sick and missed a couple of games, pinch hit in the sixth inning for the Bulldogs, driving in a run on a sac-fly.

“It was a competitive at bat, and Coach (Jimmie Lewis) put him in a position, and to see him respond for the team was a positive thing,” said Rodney Holder, who is Will’s dad and Harlem’s athletic director. He also coached Greenbrier in its 2007 state championship win. “Coach Lewis knows these kids as good as anybody and giving him that opportunity and knowing it was a big spot, but also knowing how much it could mean to the team too.”

Game Two was a tight game as Harlem got ahead 3-0 in the third inning. A double and an error scored two runs for the Warriors in the bottom of the third inning. 

A double off the fence by Jeremiah Hamilton helped extend the Bulldogs lead to 5-2 in the seventh inning. 

The Warriors answered with one run in the seventh, but it was not enough as Harlem won 5-3. 

Lewis spoke on his team and his pitchers Caiden Coile and Amerson Guy’s performance. 

“The fact that we were able to get to this point without Will Holder, our main pitcher, is just a testament to Caiden and Amerson,” Lewis said. “That is just showing these kids are stepping it up, and they have really battled and worked hard.”

Lewis also commented on Holder’s health and his future for the title game. 

“They said he can hit and do everything but pitch,” Lewis said. “But if the doctors think he can pitch by Friday, who knows. If we got to have him, maybe we can get an inning out of him, but I will not risk his health. I do not care about a baseball game as long as he stays healthy.”

Harlem will play Calvary Day beginning May 17 in Rome.

The Harlem Bulldogs celebrate their victory. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Even though the state match-up is in Rome, Lewis said it will have the ring of a home game.

“Whoever is on the other side is a powerhouse. and we’re really going to have to play ball to win back-to-back,” Lewis said. “This crowd is real resilient, and they step up to the challenge. We will have as many fans there or more than whoever we play. We did last year and this crowd is going to follow us. They are a key to us winning.”

Christopher Rickerson, an Augusta University graduate, has covered area sports for Augusta University, The Augusta Press and Augusta Good News. Subscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter here.

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