It was Friday Night Lights of a different sort as Harlem and Grovetown kicked off the 2012 high school softball season.
Harlem played host to the Chick-fil-A Classic tournament with 12 teams competing at Patriots Park.
Harlem dropped its first game of the night 2-1 to Elbert County before routing Christian Heritage Academy 19-0, while Grovetown’s Lady Warriors finished 1-1 in two games.
The Lady Warriors were 0-21 in 2011, and their night began with a 4-2 loss to Thomson. After stranding eight against Thomson, they had no such issue in the nightcap, beating Hephzibah 10-3.
“I’ve been here since the very beginning when we only had nine people so that was tough,” said first baseman Megan Murphy. “I actually have a lot of hope after this.”
With the Lady Warriors trailing 3-2, Murphy got a clutch two-run single in the third inning as they scored five runs to take an insurmountable 7-3 lead.
Sophomore pitcher Jasmine Gonzalez started the game slowly, walking the first four batters, but retired the next three – the last two on strikeouts – and the Lady Rebels were done.
She finished the game allowing just one hit while striking out 10. She walked just two more after the first inning.
Facing Elbert County, the Lady Bulldogs had one bad inning, allowing the Lady Devils two first-inning runs, but that would be enough.
Lady Bulldogs’ pitcher Kristin Rawlins gave up two of her three hits and two of her three walks in that initial inning.
She was bested by the Lady Devils’ Devyn Terry, who kept the Lady Bulldogs off balance, striking out nine.
Lindsey Stokes got both the Lady Bulldogs hits, including an RBI single in the final inning, but was stranded on second.
“We didn’t hit and we win when we hit,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Mike Leverett. “We had opportunities. We had the tying run in scoring position in the final inning.”
The tournament resumes today at 9 a.m. with the last game slated to start at 5:45 p.m.