It was Harlem third baseman Lindsey Stokes’ birthday Wednesday, but she was the one handing out the presents.
In the first game against East Laurens, Stokes hit a three-run homer in her first at-bat in the first inning. She topped that with a grand slam as the Lady Bulldogs scored 14 runs en route to their 22-0 win in three innings in the first round of the Region 3-AA Tournament.
“I haven’t had a game like that,” Stokes said.
By the end of the doubleheader, Stokes finished with three hits in five at-bats and nine RBI.
The Lady Bulldogs (22-7), the region’s No. 1 team, continued the pounding in Game 2, shooting down the Lady Falcons 18-2, also in three-innings.
The Lady Bulldogs will face Screven County at home on Wednesday for the region championship. Screven County (13-11) advanced after beating Westside twice Wednesday.
In both games the Lady Bulldogs got to the Lady Falcons’ (7-15) pitching staff early, finishing with 14 hits in each game.
“We hit the ball probably the best we have all year,” Harlem coach Mike Leverett said. “As long as we hit it like that, I know we have a chance to win.”
In Game 1, freshman pitcher Amber Garrett (11-4) had runners on second and third in the first inning before fanning the next two batters to end the threat. The Lady Bulldogs then batted around twice, en route to scoring 14 runs.
“We got a little nervous, but I guess once we get past our first inning and get our bats going and getting on base, we don’t stop,” senior second baseman Abbie Drake said.
Garrett had little trouble after the first inning, allowing two hits and striking out four in three innings.
In Game 2, the Lady Bulldogs were the visiting team and jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead. They added five in the second and nine in the third.
Starter Kristin Rawlins (11-3) got the win, allowing two runs on two hits.