Lakeview Academy’s Ralston Cash was pretty excited after Thursday’s season opening 9-2 win at home against East Jackson, but not for the reason that seems so obvious.
The fact that the Lions’ pitcher had nine strikeouts and only allowed one hit in five innings was attributed by the right-hander to the way their defense played. What really has Cash excited is thinking about the possibilities this season for Lakeview Academy’s baseball program.
"It’s going to be a good year for us," Cash said. "It’s going to be an emotional season because we have such a great brotherhood together."
The Lions are certainly going to have a great season if Cash continues to throw as strong as he did against the Eagles.
Cash had nine strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit the first time through the East Jackson batting order. Then the second time through, he started to mix his pitches and change speeds, resulting in mostly ground ball outs. In five innings, Cash threw 85 pitches and only allowed three East Jackson hitters to reach base.
"Ralston is pitching with a lot of confidence," Lakeview Academy coach Deuce Roark said. "He gave us exactly what we wanted to see tonight."
Roark tends to agree with Cash’s optimistic forecast for Lakeview’s season. The Lions are deep with experience all over the field and have played quite a few innings together.
"This team has great chemistry," Roark said. "They all love to be around each other and all work extremely hard.
"I really like this group ... having a team like this makes it fun to coach."
At first glance, the Lions don’t lack anything on the offensive side either. Six different players drove in runs for the Lions, who finished the game with six hits. Brett Armour had the big hit for Lakeview Academy with a two-run, first inning home run scoring lead off hitter Haughton Carswell. Carswell, Cash, Nick Saye, Tyler Young and Matt Askounis also drove in runs for the Lions.
Offensive production from top to bottom in the order is certainly music to the ears of Lakeview’s coach.
"I’m very pleased with the way we hit the ball today," Roark added. "We’ve only been hitting together about three days now (since basketball season ended)."
Cash added an RBI double in the third inning, extending Lakeview’s lead to 4-0. Young drove in Tyler Ward on an RBI double in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Saye’s RBI single scored Ross Biegler from third.
East Jackson’s runs came in the sixth inning. Hunter Beck started the inning with a lead off single and Nick Keyros followed with a double to put two in scoring position. John Robinson’s two-run triple accounted for both Eagles runs.
Beck finished the game with two hits for East Jackson.
Lakeview Academy visits St. Francis at 4:30 p.m. today in Alpharetta. East Jackson plays host to Elbert County at 5:30 on Tuesday in Commerce.