(log on throughout the day for score updates)
Bremen at Lakeview, 3 p.m.
If Lakeview Academy baseball coach Deuce Roark was supposed to be shaken about his team splitting its double-header against Bremen on Wednesday, he sure didn’t show it.
The Blue Devils (18-6) won the second game of this second-round playoff series, 13-3, forcing a third and deciding game at 3 p.m. today in Gainesville.
"I’m glad that we have the opportunity to play a Game 3," Roark said. "It would be a whole lot worse if we were going home right now."
"We knew this series was going to be a challenge," Lakeview senior shortstop Haughton Carswell said. "We played Gordon Lee last year in the playoffs out of the same region and they were a good team, so we knew it was going to be a battle."
The winner of today’s game moves on to the Class A state quarterfinals to face the Calvary Day/Hawkinsville winner next Tuesday in another best-of-three series.
The Lions (26-2) won the first game 4-3 behind a complete-game pitching performance from junior Ralston Cash.
With the split, Lakeview is now forced to throw strategy out the window and do everything in its power to win one game and advance. The Lions can throw any combination of pitchers they would like today with a 14-inning pitching limit over a four-day span, as stated in the GHSA guidelines. Cash and Game 2 starter Tyler Ward can pitch again today for Lakeview but after Wednesday’s double-header, Roark didn’t have a definitive answer as to who would start.
"In a Game 3 situation you don’t leave anything in the tank," Roark said. "I just hope we come out a little more focused (today)."
The Blue Devils evened the series with clutch hitting with the bases loaded in the second inning of Game 2. Christian Prichard started the inning with a two-run home run for Bremen, followed by an RBI single with the bases loaded from Matt Parker, then a two-run double from Jared Perkins.
It was a decisive change of momentum in the second game after Bremen loaded the bases three times in the first two innings of Game 1 and only managed to score once. Perkins finished the second game with six RBIs for the Blue Devils.
For Lakeview, it was a sluggish day at the plate as the Lions combined for only seven hits in the two games. Nick Saye had a pair of hits and an RBI in Game 2. Cash also had an RBI single.
Parker pitched a complete game to earn the victory for Bremen with seven strikeouts and only four walks allowed.
Lakeview Academy 4, Bremen 3
Cash made up for two innings worth of frustrations with one swing of the bat in Game 1. Lakeview’s starting pitcher and cleanup hitter drove a fastball over the fence in left-center for a grand slam, giving the Lions a 4-1 lead.
Lakeview’s starting pitcher, who now carries a 9-0 record on the season, had trouble getting into a rhythm in the first two innings. Bremen managed to load the bases twice in the first inning, and again in the second inning but were only able to come away with one run.
In the first, the Blue Devils started the inning with a leadoff double from Cal Hardie and loaded the bases with a walk from Jay Wade. However, Lakeview’s defense played damage control when a sharply hit line drive was caught by Carswell and then relayed to second for the double play.
Hardie scored the only run for Bremen in the first with two outs on a bases-loaded walk from Matt Parker. The Blue Devils loaded the bases in the second on a fielding and throwing error, followed by a walk.
But Cash was able to put the first two innings behind him with the grand slam that accounted for the Lions only runs of the game. Brett Armour had the only other hit for Lakeview Academy in the first game. A pair of walks prior to Armour’s hit loaded the bases.
Cash settled down during the final five innings and finished the game with 10 strikeouts and having only allowed four hits.
Curt Barrett and Wade each drove in runs in the seventh inning for Bremen.