HARLEM — A duo in the middle of the Harlem lineup proved lethal in more ways than one as the Lady Bulldogs continued their run in the state playoffs.
Amber Garrett combined on 12 scoreless innings before allowing her lone run in the sixth inning of the second game, and Lindsey Stokes hit two home runs as Harlem swept past Bleckley County 5-0 and 10-1 and into the next round of the Class AA state playoffs.
Stokes got Harlem (28-7) started in Game 1 with a solo homer in the first inning. The Lady Bulldogs tacked on three in the second when Christin Mullis doubled home a run, and Haley Mays singled home a second run and scored on a three-base error.
Garrett sealed the game with her arm and bat, hitting a solo homer in the fifth for a 5-0 lead, where it remained.
Harlem again found itself on the board quickly in the second game with a second first-inning home run from Stokes, this time a two-run shot to give Garrett another early lead. Again, Garrett helped herself with a two-run single in the third for a four-run lead.
The Lady Bulldogs added three in the fourth and three in the sixth for a 10-run lead before Bleckley County (16-16) found its first run in the home half.
It was all the Lady Royals could muster.
Garrett threw all 13 innings during the two games, allowing a total of one run on four hits with five walks and 15 strikeouts.
“It was really exciting,” she said. “The second game wasn’t quite as good for me, but they backed me up and did a great job. I couldn’t ask for a better group to play with.”
After Stokes’ two home runs and three total hits, she was walked the final three trips to the plate. Garrett took advantage with five hits, including a home run, double and four RBI.
“She loves to hit,” coach Michael Leverett said. “She’s a good bat to have behind Lindsey, and she makes them pay for hitting around Stokes. The odds are good with her.”
Harlem has won 19 games in a row heading to the next round, which will be played in Columbus, Ga., on Oct. 25. Leverett said he is sad to see the team play on the road, as the Lady Bulldogs held a perfect record at home this season.