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Prep baseball: Lakeview drops heartbreakers to Gordon Lee

POSTED: May 20, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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It was only fitting that the conclusion of Lakeview Academy’s first-round playoff series with Gordon Lee was decided by a comeback.

After overcoming an 11-2 deficit in Game 1 to win 14-13, the Trojans erased a 7-1 deficit in Game 2 to defeat Lakeview Academy 18-17 and complete the two-game sweep of the Lions in the Class A state playoffs on Friday in Gainesville.

The final run in Game 2 came on a two-out, two-strike, two-run single by Taylor Pace in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Lions leading 17-16.

“That was tough,” Lakeview Academy coach Deuce Roark said of how Game 2 ended. “We were right on the edge of jubilation and you come back to ... disappointment.

“I have to give credit to Gordon Lee they never went away ... they kept fighting and fighting back,” he added. “That’s a good ball club and it’s an honor to play them and I’m very proud of our boys, too.”

Despite being separated by a 30-minute interval, the two games (which featured a combined 54 hits) were nearly identical in the way they played out. And at one point, fans could be heard saying, “is this really happening again.”

After surrendering two runs in the first inning of Game 1, Lakeview Academy (17-10) displayed its offensive prowess by scoring seven runs in the next two innings, capped off by a two-run home run by Brett Armour.

The Lions reeled off four more runs in the next two innings, and with the way that starter Ralston Cash was pitching, it appeared Lakeview was going to cruise to a victory in Game 1. Cash surrendered only one hit and two runs in the first four innings.

But then the Trojans offense awoke.

In the top of the fifth inning, Gordon Lee (18-7-1) had six hits and took advantage of two fielding errors and a balk call to score 10 runs and take a 12-11 lead.

“You don’t expect any team to score 10 runs on you in one inning,” said Roark, who watched 16 Gordon Lee batters step to the plate in the inning.

Extra innings were forced when Lakeview tied the game at 12-in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI ground out from Cash that scored Haughton Carswell and a sacrifice fly from Nick Saye that scored Colin King.

Gordon Lee took the lead for good in the top of the eighth inning when Zach DeBord was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a balk, and scored on two consecutive wild pitches.

Along with scoring the game-winning run, DeBord picked up the win for the Trojans on the mound, throwing 162 pitches with eight strikeouts and two walks in six innings.

“He’s our guy,” Gordon Lee coach Greg Payne said of DeBord, who was going to be taken out of the game had the Trojans not comeback. “He didn’t throw well today, but he’s our guy. The team wants to win for him and we play better behind him.”

With Gordon Lee’s ace on the mound done for the day, the Lions jumped all over Tres Scroggins, the Trojans starter of Game 2.

Cash started things with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and the Lions scored seven runs on six hits in the first two innings to take a commanding 7-1 lead.

Then deja vu reared its head.

Gordon Lee, despite having two outs in the bottom of the second inning, scored seven runs on five hits to take an 8-7 lead. Scoring with two outs was something of a pattern for the team from Chickamauga, as the Trojans scored a combined 26 runs with two outs during the two games against Lakeview.

Matt Reynolds, Angus Ferguson, Jacob Whittenton and Carswell led off the inning with four straight hits to regain the lead and chase reliever Alan Tahler from the game. Tahler was one of eight pitchers used in the game by both teams.

“I was worried that we couldn’t throw strikes, I wasn’t worried about scoring runs,” Payne said. “I was worried about keeping Lakeview from scoring 100.”

While the teams struggled on defense (combining for 14 errors on the day), the offense’s were clicking on all cylinders and the teams exchanged the lead six times in the remainder of the game.

Lakeview took an 12-8 lead after the top of the third inning, but Gordon Lee scored three runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings to take a 14-12 lead.

The Lions regained the lead by scoring three runs in the fifth, but the Trojans answered with two runs in their half of the inning to take a 16-15 lead.

The Lions manufactured two runs in the sixth to regain the lead, 17-16 heading into the final inning.
But like the game before, the Trojans took the final lead on Pace’s two-out single.

“These kids don’t seem to panic,” Payne said. “We had the last at bat and that mattered in this game.”
Added Roark: “Baseball is unforgiving. You have to play it mentally and physically and today things didn’t go our way.”

Armour (6-for-8 with a home run, four RBIs and six runs scored) and Cash (5-for-9 with a home run, four RBIs and five runs scored) led the Lions at the plate.
Lakeview Academy’s season is now complete.



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