The Lakeview Academy baseball team made it clear that a state championship is on its mind.
The Region 8-A champion Lions easily passed their first test in the Class A state playoffs Friday, sweeping Region 7-A’s fourth-seeded Fellowship Christian by scores of 10-0 and 19-0.
The series win marks the first time Lakeview (25-1) has advanced past the first round since its state championship season in 2004.
“I’m very proud of the boys to come out and be competitive and have a lot of focus,” Lions coach Deuce Roark said. “They came ready to play, I was proud of them for that fact.”
The first-round series is also the first sweep in school history for Lakeview. The Lions won all their series in 2004 in three games.
“I got a lot older that year,” Roark said. “Unfortunately, I’m a coach, so I worry about every little things. No matter the score, we’re going to try to do the right things.”
Lakeview advances to the second round, where it will play host to Bremen on Monday. Having now won 18 straight, Roark expects the same amount of intensity from his team next week.
“This is the state playoffs,” he said. “There is nothing hard to get up for, or there better not be.”
The Lions jumped to early leads in both games with a productive offense, as the lineup batted around in the first inning of each contest.
“We try to put the pedal to the medal and win every inning,” Lakeview catcher Brett Armour said. “We did that today.”
Defensively, the Lions allowed only two hits in the doubleheader. Pitchers Ralston Cash and Tyler Ward each pitched one-hit complete games for Lakeview. Cash struck out eight and threw a no-hitter through four innings in Game 1.
At the plate, Cash was 5-for-6 with a double and home run on the day.
Cash’s double was the first of four in the first inning of Game 1, as the Lions took an eight-run lead in their first plate appearance. Jacob Whitenton, Tyler Young and Dalton Munday also doubled and collected RBIs in the inning.
Young batted in another run in the second inning to score Ward. Cash’s home run in the fourth secured the win in Game 1.
“I think the boys are excited to be here,” Roark said. “So they have a lot of focus on what they want accomplish.”
Game 2 began in similar fashion as the first, as Lakeview scored another eight runs in the first inning. Ross Biegler led the Lions with two doubles and three RBIs in the inning.
Ward added a two-run double and Brett Armour hit his school-record 15th home run in first.
Lakeview tacked on another 10 runs in the second with Biegler’s third double of the game, RBI triples by Munday and Young and Haughton Carswell’s three-run double.
Armour hit his second home run of the day in the third inning.
“We’ve talked for two weeks about focus at the plate,” Roark said. “We had a little bit of that in the first game that frustrated me a little bit, but we came back in the second game.”
Biegler finished the day 4-for-5 with three doubles and five RBIs. Young, Saye, Whitenton and Carswell added three hits in the doubleheader.