Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lady Bulldogs rallied for a two-out run to tie the score then won it in the eighth. In the nightcap, the Lady Bulldogs scored three first-inning runs, earning a repeat trip to Columbus, Ga.
“The hardest part is getting there, now we have a chance,” said Harlem coach Mike Leverett after telling his players how proud he was of them.
After the Lady Indians (19-11) scored a run in the top of the seventh to take a 2-1 lead, the Lady Bulldogs were down to their final out with runners on first and second. Junior Ashley Lunz singled up the middle to score Emily Aplin, who just beat the throw to the plate.
“I was just trying to do my job for the team. I’m so glad that I was able to get on base,” Lunz said.
Under international tie-breaker rules, a runner was placed on second to start the next inning, but Amber Garrett (22-5) registered two of her nine strikeouts in the top of the eighth.
In the bottom half, with Madison Summers on second, Lindsey Stokes failed to get a bunt down twice then hit a long single to the fence, scoring Summers as the Lady Bulldogs ran jubilantly onto the field.
Playing her last games at Harlem brought out different emotions in Stokes.
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I love going to Columbus and I wouldn’t want anything else, but this place is home, it always has been and it’s going to be hard to leave.”
Garrett battled in the second game, scattering seven hits and stranding 12 runners after the Lady Indians loaded the bases twice, coming away with just the lone run.
The Lady Bulldogs will face the Bremen-Jefferson winner in Columbus at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.