Harlem picked two from Pickens County May 6. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Harlem picked two from Pickens County May 6. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Harlem picks two from Pickens County, advancing to baseball semis

HARLEM – The Harlem High School baseball team won both games against Pickens County in the quarterfinals of the 3A Georgia High School Baseball State Playoffs on Monday, May 7.

Harlem swept two from Pickens County May 6 to head to the state semifinals. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

According to Maxpreps, Pickens County was the 22nd-ranked baseball team in Georgia going into Monday’s game.

Harlem once again was without top player Will Holder, who may not return this season due to illness. Harlem Coach Jimmy Lewis spoke on Holder’s impact and is proud of the way his team has performed without him.

“He is a great kid; he was right there with us and this crowd is stepping up even without him,” Lewis said. “I told them we are not a one-man team, we are 29 strong. Will Holder makes us even better, but we got to keep plugging and stepping up and playing better. Then maybe we will get him back for the finals.”

Game One was scoreless through three innings before Pickens County scored the first run of the game after a sac fly, making the score 1-0.

Region 7 AAA Player of the Year Connor Shouse, who has committed to Georgia Tech, was dealing on the mound for the Dragons, allowing no hits through six innings.

“He is unreal and can throw it,” Lewis said about Shouse. “Georgia Tech has a good one coming to them.”

Harlem earned its first hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh and all of the momentum swung in the Bulldogs’ favor.

A perfect bunt down the first base line by Jeremiah Hamilton was bobbled by the Dragons infielder, putting runners on first and second. A second error by the Dragons gave the Bulldogs bases loaded with no outs.

Harlem is closer to back-to-back state titles after sweeping Pickens County Monday. Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Bunting has helped the Bulldogs in a lot of games.

“I have always been for 48 years a small ball guy, “Lewis said. “In this stadium, you are not going to hit no bombs. If you get them down, you’re putting people in scoring position. You can win a lot of games bunting.”

A pitching change would help Pickens County get two outs, but Harlem would tie the game 1-1.

The Harlem home crowd went wild as Tyler Simmons walked with the bases loaded to score the winning run and take Game One 2-1 for the Bulldogs.

Tyler Simmons walks with bases loaded to hand the Bulldogs the 2-1 win in game one against Pickens County. Video by Christopher Rickerson/Augusta Good News

Unlike Game One, Harlem scored first after a hard hit ball in the infield to make score 1-0 in the second inning. Six hits scored five runs for the Bulldogs in the second inning. The Bulldogs went on continue to score and be successful at the plate, winning Game Two 12-0 after five innings.

The Bulldogs will now host Oconee County in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Friday, May 10.

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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