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Athlete of the week: Lakeview senior settles in, lifts Lions
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Honorable mentions

Christian Duguay, Johnson: Home run, double and three RBIs against West Hall last Saturday.

David Sosebee, White County: Struck out 11 hitters against East Hall last Saturday.

Travis Rutkiewicz, White County: Double and three RBIs against East Hall last Saturday.

Jimmy Fitzgerald, Flowery Branch: 2-for-2 with two doubles and six RBIs against West Forsyth last Saturday.

James Mills, Flowery Branch: 3-for-4 with two RBIs against West Forsyth last Saturday.

Brett Armour, Lakeview Academy: 5-for-7 with two home runs and eight RBIs over two games last week.

Chris Beck, Jefferson: 12 strikeouts against Banks County last Tuesday.

Stephen Smith, Banks County: 4-for-6 with a double and two RBIs over two games last week.

Chad Fulton, Lumpkin County: Drove in the game-winning run against North Hall last Saturday.

Lakeview Academy's Tyler Ward hasn't let a confusing mess of rainouts and schedule changes throw him off his game.

The senior pitcher and right fielder made that a clear statement last Thursday, when he went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs while pitching a complete game, leading the Lions to a 13-0 win against Social Circle.

Ward also contributed with hits in a 9-8 win against fifth-ranked Hebron Christian, keeping eighth-ranked Lakeview (13-1, 7-0 Region 8-A) unbeaten in region play, and one game closer to the team's first region title since 2004 when it won a state championship.

"We are much a closer team than in the past," Ward said. "Everybody hangs out together, and we're more close-knit than we were last year."

Ward's performance last week may have served as a message to future opponents as well. After jumping straight into baseball season after a playoff appearance in basketball, an adjustment to his spring sport was needed.

The patience appears to have paid off.

"(The performance) was a little bit overdue," said Ward, who was a Times All-Area Honorable Mention in basketball. "Coming straight out of basketball, I kind of struggled a little bit. It takes a while to get your form, and I think I may have found it.

"Going from basketball to baseball is one of the hardest transitions to make," he added. "You go from a huge ball to a tiny one, and the hand-eye coordination you need makes it the hardest thing there is."

Now in midseason form, Ward is used as Lakeview's primary left-handed pitcher and the No. 2 hurler behind junior Ralston Cash.

"He's kind of a Tom Glavine-type (of pitcher)," Lions coach Deuce Roark said. "He uses the strike zone very well and doesn't give into the hitter."

When not on the mound, Ward becomes a defensive threat in right field for Lakeview, and a useful power hitter in the middle of the batting order.

"Tyler really solidifies our outfield and then comes in as our No. 2 pitcher," Lakeview coach Deuce Roark said. "He's a gap hitter, so he's going hit a lot of doubles, and that clears the bases.

"If we win the region, Tyler is going to big part to us doing that."

Following high school, Ward plans to attend Valdosta State University to major in athletic training. Although he currently has no plans to play sports at the college level, he has not ruled it out if given the opportunity.

"If I have a shot it'll be baseball, since I'm left handed," Ward said. "But I'm too short for basketball."

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