HARLEM — Finally scratched with a run while on her 14th inning of work, Harlem pitcher Amber Garrett shook her arm.
Shaking away the tiredness – maybe even the frustration – Garrett soon got the out she was looking for.
Backed by a dominant Garrett, the Harlem softball team swept Wednesday’s doubleheader, 1-0 and 4-1, against McIntosh County Academy in the first round of the Class AA state tournament.
Garrett fooled batter after batter in the two games, striking out 21 in the wins. In those 14 innings, just that one run scored, which came after an error put a hitter on base. But Garrett got a grounder to third to seal the sweep.
“I was just trying to finish it for my team,” she said.
She was at her best in the first game, after an error allowed the Lady Bucs’ first hitter to reach, Garrett struck out nine of the next 12 batters. Only Falyn Bond seemed to give her issues, as she singled twice.
The Lady Bulldogs’ offense finally came through in the seventh. A bunt by Cristian Mullis started the threat, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt and walk. Lindsey Stokes followed with a game-winning single.
Harlem scored four runs in the middle three innings against McIntosh County Academy pitcher Summer Wright. In the fifth, Stokes again got a big hit when she powered through a single for two runs to make it 4-0.
“We weren’t hitting the ball, so I was trying to find a way to generate a run,” Harlem coach Mike Leverett said.
Though Bond reached twice in Game 2, Garrett had one more out in her. After an error and single led to a RBI, Garrett got Bond to ground out to third to end it.
“When you throw 14 innings, I knew she would get tired, but I wasn’t taking her out,” Leverett said.