Region 8-A playoff race
Lakeview 12-0 19-1
Commerce 9-1 12-6
Hebron Christian 9-3 16-3
Athens Academy 5-6 11-7
Social Circle 6-7 9-8
Athens Christian 4-6 5-9
Lakeview at Athens Christian
Commerce vs. Tallulah Falls (2x)
Hebron at Towns County
Social Circle at Athens Acad.
Commerce at Lakeview
Athens Acad. at Athens Christian
Towns County at Social Circle
Lakeview Academy’s baseball season is falling in to place nicely. The Lions (19-1, 12-0 Region 8-A) moved one step closer to the region title with their 15-4 victory against Athens Academy on Tuesday in Gainesville. Lakeview can secure the region title with wins against Athens Christian and Commerce later this week.
The game against Commerce is crucial, as Lakeview handed the Tigers their only region loss earlier this season.
"Winning region is one of the goals we’ve set for this team," Lakeview coach Deuce Roark said. "We want to have our pitching staff in order and ready for the playoffs."
The Lions defeated the Spartans, their 12th straight win, thanks to a pair of home runs from the middle of their order, a strong outing from starting pitcher Jacob Whitenton, and a favorable bounce on an infield ground ball with the bases loaded that scored three runs.
Brett Armour, a senior, got the Lions off to a good start with a two-run home run over the center-field fence in the first inning, extending his feverish hitting pace with seven home runs in the last eight games.
"I’ve never seen anything like the way Brett’s been hitting the ball lately," Roark said.
In the fifth inning, Dalton Munday and Haughton Carswell led off the inning with walks, Ross Biegler singled to load the bases and junior third baseman Ralston Cash connected on a walk-off grand slam. The Lions were efficient at the top of the order as Carswell, Biegler and Cash reached base in all four plate appearances. Still, according to Cash, there’s room for improvement with the Lions.
"We’re just trying to stay humble right now," Cash said. "We know we’re not playing our best, but we’re still managing to get wins."
Lakeview scored four runs in the fourth inning thanks in large part to a friendly infield bounce. With the bases loaded, Haughton Carswell scored on an infield roller when Athens Academy’s infielder threw wide of the catcher on an attempted force out at the plate.
That mistake proved costly to the Spartans (11-7, 5-6).
Tyler Ward stepped up next for Lakeview and hit a bouncing ground ball down the first base line that kicked off the lip of the grass, jetting sharply to the left into the outfield and scoring all three runners on base.
"We’ve been getting those kind of lucky breaks," Roark said. "That was certainly a lucky break there."
Whitenton pitched 4 1/3 innings for the Lions, allowed seven hits and walked four.
The only miscues for the Lions involved running the bases. Lakeview had runners picked off at first, second, in a run down, and one caught stealing. Still, sound hitting more than compensated for a couple miscues on the base paths.
Will Daniel and Patrick Jansen each went 2-for-3 with an RBI for Athens Academy.
Lakeview visits Athens Christian at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Athens Academy plays host to Social Circle at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.