HARLEM — With Harlem’s Lindsey Stokes at the plate in the third inning in Game 1 of the Georgia High School Association Class AA state softball playoffs, Thomasville’s right fielder was playing with her back almost against the outfield fence.
It still wasn’t far enough.
The Lady Bulldogs’ senior third baseman blasted a 1-0 pitch well over the right-centerfield fence Wednesday night, helping lead Harlem to a 12-1 win as the team banged out 18 hits.
The Lady Bulldogs (26-6) then advanced to the playoffs’ second round with a 11-0 win in the nightcap.
The game took on added significance as Harlem dedicated the rest of its season to the memory of Chance Lonergan and Scotti Gandy, who died in an accident Sunday morning.
“Two great kids, and both of them were athletes and the girls we’ve got on the team thought a lot of both of them,” Harlem coach Mike Leverett said.
Stokes was a main part of the Game 1 power display. After getting nothing to hit in the region tournament, she lined a triple in her first at-bat, followed by a double and then the home run before she was lifted in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“I feel like Amber (Garrett) pitches better when we have runs,” said Stokes, who finished with six RBI for the night.
Garrett (20-5) surrendered a leadoff triple in Game 1, which eventually scored on a wild pitch, but that would be all Thomasville (16-17) could muster throughout the doubleheader.
Garrett struck out six in three innings of work in the first game and mowed down 11 in five innings in the nightcap.
The second game was scoreless until Harlem struck for seven fourth-inning runs, highlighted by Christian Mullis’ leadoff triple and freshman Cassie Blizzard’s first career home run, a line drive over the left field fence.
For the doubleheader, Garrett led the Lady Bulldogs with five hits, knocking in five runs, while Mullis added four hits.
The Lady Bulldogs will face the Vidalia-Putnam County winner at home on Oct. 23.