It was the season finale for Lakeview Academy, but the Lions made it seem more like an exhibition on Wednesday against Tallulah Falls — a home run derby, to be exact.
The Lions blasted six balls over the fence in a 18-4, four inning mercy-rule win, including four homers in the first inning. Of those four, two were by Dallas Deavers, his second of the inning part of a back-to-back variety with Jacob Whitenton.
Though the Lions (15-11, 12-8 8-A) won big, it was a bittersweet day. They end the year in a tie with Athens Christian for fourth in 8-A for the final state playoff spot, but Athens Christian owns the tiebreaker.
Lakeview and Athens Christian split their two games this season, and the second tiebreaker was record against opponents above them in the 8-A standings. With Athens Christian’s win Tuesday over Commerce, it all but assures it the fourth and final playoff spot. Lakeview’s only hope is Riverside (2-15) beating Athens Christian. In March, Athens Christian beat Riverside 14-1.
Though the Lions’ postseason hopes are all but shot, that didn’t stop them from having some fun Wednesday.
After Tallulah scored two runs in the first on two errors, Lakeview responded with 10 runs, sending 14 batters to the plate. Besides Deavers and Whitenton’s blasts, the other homer in the inning came from Logan Jones.
For Deavers, it was the first time he’s homered twice in an inning.
“I don’t know what to say,” the sophomore said. “I saw the ball pretty good and did the best I could. I was just happy to be playing with these seniors we’ve got. I feel like God has blessed me with a good group of guys.
“That’s probably the best we’ve hit the ball all season.”
The Lions got three more runs in the second inning on a three-run shot from starting pitcher Jarrett Huge. After a 1-2-3 third inning, Lakeview went back on the attack in the fourth with five more runs, including a second homer from Whitenton.
The game ended after Tallulah’s fourth consecutive error of the inning, a dropped fly ball that plated Taylor Simpson.
Lions coach Deuce Roark admired how the Lions responded despite knowing Athens Christian all but clinched the No. 4 seed the day before.
“We could have come out here with the wrong attitude,” Roark said. “It was a little somber, because I was honest with them (about the playoff situation), and I didn’t want them to be surprised by anything.
Once the first pitch came across the plate and they were ready to go. We had fun and they enjoyed themselves.”
Whitenton and Huge each led the Lions with four RBIs, and Jones and Deavers had three. Whitenton also scored three runs, and Huge, Jones and Taylor Simpson each scored twice.
Huge pitched three innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out four to earn the win. Jeremiah Moore pitched a scoreless fourth, striking out one.
Tallulah (2-19, 0-19) pitcher Thomas Hand went the distance, pitching 3 2/3 innings and allowing 18 runs (14 earned) on 16 hits and a walk, striking out two.