Originally created 05/15/04

Harlem holds off Savannah Christian



HARLEM - The Harlem Bulldogs postponed their post-game celebration after pitcher Clayton Bruce fell to the ground following a collision with third baseman James Davis on the final out.

Davis held on to the foul pop to secure Harlem's 6-5 Game 2 win over Savannah Christian. Bruce tossed a two-hit gem in the Bulldogs' 2-1 Game 1 win and picked up the save in the second game as the Bulldogs swept the Raiders in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs Friday.

But cheers were put on hold as Bruce lay on the ground. He picked himself up injury-free to the delight of Harlem fans and players.

"I felt the ball in my glove and I was so happy," said Davis, who went 4-for-5 in the series with two doubles. "Then I see him on the ground trying to catch his breath. I was scared. We need him to help us go through the playoffs."

Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said: "I liked to have had a heart attack. I thought he hurt his knee."

The Bulldogs (15-13), who won their first playoff series in three years, will now face the winner of the Dublin-Westover series in the second round Wednesday.

In the first game, Harlem went hitless the first three innings but banged out seven singles over the final four.

Savannah Christian left six men on base, threatening to score in all but two innings. In the third, Jared Combs hit a two-out grounder to first that was misplayed by Jordan Whitaker, allowing Brandon West to score.

In the fifth, Davis and Ben Hill hit a pair of one-out singles. With two outs, Mike Morris grounded a seeing-eye single that ricocheted off third baseman Mike Allegretti's glove and past shortstop Jared Combs, plating Davis. Matt Lewis followed with an RBI single to left to put Harlem up 2-1.

Bruce escaped trouble in the sixth. After giving up a leadoff single, the left-hander induced a double play from Ryan Cowart.

In the seventh, Patrick Knorr led off with a single. Before the Raiders could lay down a sacrifice bunt, though, catcher Barrett Davis picked pinch runner Richard Lee off first base.

In the second game, Harlem broke a 1-all tie in the third inning. Whitaker lined a two-out shot off the pitching mound rubber, scoring Lewis from third. Chris Day followed with a two-run triple to make it 4-1.

Harlem added two more runs in the fifth to give it a 6-1 advantage.

Savannah Christian rallied for four runs in the sixth. But Bruce shut the door in the seventh.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.