HARLEM — Harlem’s recipe of patience and timely hitting halted a hot team and produced a big region win Saturday.
The Bulldogs poured on 12 runs over two innings and Blake Teston pitched effectively out of jams as Harlem beat Laney 12-1 in five innings.
The victory knotted Region 4-AA at the top with Harlem and Laney both moving to 6-1. The Wildcats previously rolled to an undefeated start to region play and lost just their second game this season, while the Bulldogs improved to 13-3.
“That was a win for us and we’re as glad as we can be to get a win against a ball club like that,” Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said. “We still have to go down there and play them again. I’m real happy we won this ballgame.”
After both teams threatened to score every half inning over the first two frames, Harlem broke through by batting around in the third and provuding seven runs for a 7-1 lead. The Bulldogs tacked on five more in the fourth and Teston settled down on the mound to preserve the rout.
The bottom of the lineup was the catalyst as Harlem’s Ryan Smith went 2 for 3 with four RBI and Cameron Hatfield went 2 for 3 with a triple and two RBI. The last five hitters in the Bulldog order recorded all 11 RBI.
Laney scored the game’s first run in the second when Gabriel Brown walked with the bases loaded, but the Wildcats stranded the bases loaded and came away with only a 1-0 lead.
Harlem put a runner on second with two outs in the third, then picked up four consecutive walks and two singles in a row to produce seven runs. Smith and Jared Martin each singled home two for the big hits.
A wild pitch and sacrifice fly RBI by Teston brought home two in the fourth before Smith again singled home two and Hatfield capped the scoring with an RBI single.
Teston went five innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
“He’s done a great job for us,” Lewis said. “We make an error and get in some jams, and he comes back and gets us out of those jams. I’m pretty pleased with the way he held his composure and kept competing on the mound.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.