The Harlem Bulldogs are eyeing their second state title. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News
The Harlem Bulldogs are eyeing their second state title. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Harlem to honor past while eyeing second straight state title

HARLEM —The Harlem High School baseball team recaptured history last season, winning its first state title since 1986.

From 1974 to 1986, Harlem dominated the diamond, winning seven straight titles.

Harlem Coach Jimmie Lewis said his team is full of workaholics, and their efforts are paying off. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Dating back to last season Harlem now has won close to 30 straight games and has the potential to win back-to-back state titles. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs quickly put away the Hephzibah Rebels 15-0 in a game called after the third inning on the mercy rule.

“They’re doing what we ask them and working hard and have a good attitude,” said Harlem Coach Jimmie Lewis. “We take it one game at a time and no matter what, we play on our level. The big deal is the work ethic and team attitude is like it’s supposed to be.”

The Bulldogs returned eight starters going into the 2024 season.

According to Lewis, one of the keys of Harlem’s success is his players team chemistry and they are “workaholics”.

“They have played a long time together and they bought into our program and are always supporting each other,” Lewis said. “The key thing is they are workaholics. They work hard.”

Lewis praised former player and 2023 state champion Tryston McCladdie, who now plays baseball at Clemson University, for being the team’s role model.

“He kind of set the standard as far as workout. Every practice would end at six ,and he would go down and hit until nine with his dad,” Lewis said. “All of a sudden more players stayed with him until nine, and they bought into that and a lot of times coaches can’t get across like a leader by example can. He was that and some of these guys have picked up on the leading by example.”

Harlem continued its winning ways March 19 by pummeling Hephzibah 15-0. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Harlem baseball is now currently ranked fifth in the state of Georgia and top 20 nationally. Despite the success they have had, Harlem baseball is still hungry for more and look to win another state title.

“These guys realize last year was a great experience and they have to work their butts off no matter what if they want to obtain the same goal, “Lewis said.

The Bulldog will look to continue their winning ways against North Augusta at SRP Park on Thursday, March 21.

The Bulldogs will host North Augusta at 2 p.m. Saturday and will unveil its eight state championship plaque display. Lewis said Harlem will also honor the 50th anniversary of the 1974 state title, which was the first state title at Harlem and in Columbia County. All state title players are invited to attend.

“It is going to be a special, and we’re going to honor them,” said Lewis.

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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