Lakeview Academy baseball coach Deuce Roark expects a lot out of his seniors. Matt Reynolds didn’t disappoint his coach with a hit that scored the game winning run in a 9-8 win against Athens Academy on Wednesday night in Gainesville.
Trailing 8-7, Reynolds came to the plate with one out in the sixth inning and hit a shot into the outfield gap that scored two runs and preserved the Lions (10-5, 7-1 Region 8-A) eighth win in their last nine games.
Ralston Cash started the rally with a lead-off double and Angus Ferguson reached base on a walk to set the table for the game winning hit.
"This win was a good growth sign for our team," Roark said. "I feel like our best baseball is ahead of us, because we’re still growing as a team."
In a constant back-and-forth game, it still wasn’t over until the Spartans (7-6, 4-4) threatened again in the seventh inning. Henry Terrell started the inning with a lead-off double for Athens Academy and the would-be tying run made it to third on a passed ball.
That’s when Lakeview Academy reliever Tyler Ward managed to record the final two outs to preserve the win.
Ralston Cash led the Lions at the plate with a pair of doubles and an RBI on a first inning ground out. Reynolds had a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Colin King, Brett Armour, Ward and Jacob Whitenton each added a hit for Lakeview Academy.
Haughton Carswell, King and Cash all got on to load the bases in the fourth inning for the Lions and helped build a 6-2 lead. Carswell scored on a single from Armour. King scored on a fielder’s choice.
Lakeview Academy’s lead was short-lived as Athens Academy came right back to tie the game at 6-6 in the fifth inning.
Patrick Jansen drove in two runs on a single, and Tag Galvin reached on a bases loaded error that scored Jansen. Evans Wellborn scored all the way from second base on a fielder’s choice before the end of the inning for the Spartans.
Athens Academy lead-off hitter McKay Matthews finished 3-for-5 with a run scored.
"We made a couple mental errors tonight but managed to make plays when we needed them," Reynolds said. "Our team motto is from the first pitch to last pitch."
This win is big for Lakeview Academy’s standing in the hunt for the playoffs in Region 8-A. The Lions remain tied for second with Athens Christian with one loss each in the 8-A pecking order behind front-runner and eighth-ranked Jefferson (9-3, 8-0).
The week doesn’t get any easier for the Lions, who play their second regular season game against the Dragons on Friday in Gainesville.
"I hoped the schedule wouldn’t go like this," Roark said. "This is a tough week."
After losing the first head-to-head game against the Dragons, Lakeview Academy needs a win against Jefferson this time around for any legitimate shot at the Region 8-A title this season.
"It’s not easy playing Athens Academy and Jefferson in the same week," Reynolds said. "But we’re definitely looking forward to another shot at Jefferson."