Repeating region history

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HARLEM - Tuesday's Region 3-AAA Championship game looked different to no one. With north subregion top-seed Harlem facing off against south subregion No. 1 South Effingham, the game was a rematch of last season's region finals.

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Harlem starter Michael Sanders went six-plus innings against South Effingham. He struck out five batters and left a 1-1 game. South Effingham would score two runs in the seventh inning to earn the victory and the Region 3-AAA championship.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Harlem starter Michael Sanders went six-plus innings against South Effingham. He struck out five batters and left a 1-1 game. South Effingham would score two runs in the seventh inning to earn the victory and the Region 3-AAA championship.

"Same situation, same everything except for the venue," South Effingham baseball coach Tony Kirkland said. "Last year we were down at our place."

To continue the theme from last year, the same team won the region title. South Effingham came away with a 3-1 win.

"It's goal No. 2," Kirkland said. "We set out to win the subregion, win the region and them advance to state."

The Mustangs will advance to the Class AAA state tournament as a No. 1 seed. Harlem will enter the state playoffs as the second-seed after a season full of clutch hitting left them on Tuesday night.

Only five Bulldogs reached base in the game on four hits and a walk. The rest of the night South Effingham pitcher Ryam Cole was near perfect.

The senior threw five innings of one-run, four-hit ball while Waylan Pickard and Colby May threw an inning each in relief.

After South Effingham took a 1-0 lead on a single by Pickard in the top of the fourth inning, Bulldogs senior Rodney Scruggs lined a double into right field. Junior Wesley Morris brought Scruggs in on the next at bat to tie the game at 1-1.

South Effingham responded with two runs in the final inning on a single from catcher John Roberts.

The three runs were enough for South Effingham.

"We've had to do a lot of persevering this year so this one's nice. We're a pretty young team," Kirkland said.

Harlem's loss gave the Bulldogs their second consecutive region runner-up finish.

"I'm disappointed. We've got a much better team than last year, and I thought this was the year we were going to win the region," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said. "It was the same old thing - a failure to hit the ball and a failure to lay down the bunt."

The Bulldogs tried and failed to move runners over on sacrifice bunts three times in the region finals.

The lack of offense wasted a strong showing from starting pitcher Mike Sanders. The senior went 6Q innings with five strikeouts and left with the game tied at 1-1.

Harlem still earned a home series in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament which will begin May 11.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (7) Add comment
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antwan85
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antwan85 05/02/07 - 10:07 am
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harlem baseball program is by

harlem baseball program is by far one of the best programs in the state. and the tradition will continue.

sagecooper
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sagecooper 05/02/07 - 10:24 am
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Congrads Coach Lewis and the

Congrads Coach Lewis and the rest of the DAWGS. Keep it up

RonRoberts
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RonRoberts 05/02/07 - 10:55 am
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Should've been a best of

Should've been a best of three series, anyhow. No arguing how good South Effingham is, but baseball's not a one-and-done sport. In any event, who cares about the region if you can win the state? GO DAWGS!!!

dt8703
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dt8703 05/02/07 - 02:14 pm
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Coach Lewis, from the class

Coach Lewis, from the class of 78 and a member of that State Championship Team, Kick butt and good luck, we love you and are proud of you.

freddy10
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freddy10 05/02/07 - 02:15 pm
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I think Harlem is a joke.

I think Harlem is a joke. They have one good year and everybody goes crazy. When they play Greenbrier and beat them then they can talk until then all you DOG fans need to shut-up. Effingham isnt crap. when you win the state and ranke in the top 25 highschool baseball teams in the nation you can talk. Will Price

mamastang
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mamastang 05/02/07 - 07:16 pm
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Harlem has nothing to hang

Harlem has nothing to hang their heads about. They are an excellent team! Their pitcher did an outstanding job. The scouts that were their had the radar gun on him constantly. :-) The team hit the ball well. It was just one of those great games that "somebody" had to be the loser in. You should be very proud of your Coaches as well! I was SO IMPRESSED with him gathering the two teams together before the game! Coach your testimony meant something to my son. THANK YOU! To God be the Glory! :-) Good Luck in the state playoffs. <

SteveGarvey
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SteveGarvey 05/03/07 - 10:28 am
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Freddy10, you are an absolute

Freddy10, you are an absolute idiot!! Does everything have to be about Greenbrier? If you haven't noticed, you are a AAAA school, with a AAAAA population no less, and they are a AAA. Your talent pool is bigger! Plus, I'm fairly sure that you have had little to do with the success over there unless your last name is Belcher or Cumpton! Give those two guys the rings and everyone else a pat on the back!

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