Lakeview Academy coach Deuce Roark knows his team is close to where he wants it to be. The fact that the Lions hung close until the final out of a 2-1 loss to fourth-ranked George Walton Academy on Tuesday is good proof of that with the second half of the Region 8-A schedule still remaining.
“I knew when the season started, we would be playing a lot of close, low-scoring games and that’s the way it’s been,” Roark said after the loss in Gainesville. “We haven’t played any blowouts either way.
“I think we’re primed to play well in the second half of the region schedule.”
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Lakeview starting pitcher Dakota Chalmers reached on a one-out single.
Then down to their final out, Dallas Deavers smashed a hard-hit ground ball that George Walton senior third baseman Trey Lang snagged while diving toward the line. He jumped to his feet and fired the ball to first base for the out in front of a diving Deavers.
Chalmers, a sophomore, was locked in a pitchers battle all night against Bulldogs (14-1, 9-0 Region 8-A) left-handed sophomore Cade Sorrells. Lakeview’s starting pitcher kept the game tight with his pitch selection and good change of speeds.
Chalmers threw 5 2/3 innings for Lakeview (8-5, 4-4), allowing just four hits and recording nine strikeouts. He also pitched around a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning by inducing a fly ball out to center field to end the inning.
“For a sophomore, he’s a very fine pitcher,” Roark said. “He’s got the heart of a competitor and we feel like we have a chance to win anytime he’s on the mound.”
In addition to his good pitching performance, Chalmers had a leadoff double in the first inning and scored on a Nick Henderson RBI single.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Avery Smith entered in relief for Lakeview Academy and, with two runners already on base, got the final out of the inning to keep the deficit at 2-1.
Smith also pitched around allowing a George Walton runner to reach on a one-out walk in the seventh and a steal of second base, then kept the runner from scoring after advancing to third on a ground ball.
For George Walton, Sorrells was just as efficient, throwing 111 pitches and allowing five hits and three walks.
Bulldogs coach Todd Shelnutt trusted Sorrells’ judgment that he could go out and complete the win in the bottom of the seventh inning. The inning before, Sorrells made a quick adjustment to cover first base for the final out of the sixth inning with a runner in scoring position on a grounder to the right side by Ramsey Hill.
“(Sorrells) has really done a good job throwing for us all season,” Shelnutt said.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the third inning, George Walton scored both of its runs on a two-run single from Ben Parr, after Casey Shubert started the inning with an infield single.
George Walton hosts Commerce on Thursday. Lakeview Academy visits Commerce at 5:55 p.m. on Friday.
Lakeview visits George Walton Academy for their final game of the season on April 23 in Monroe.