Lakeview Academy picked the perfect time for its first comeback win of the season.
Trailing 7-1 in the bottom of the sixth, the Lions scored nine runs, including a game-winning two-run home run by Taylor Simpson, who pitched a perfect seventh inning to give his team a 10-7 win over Prince Avenue Christian on Tuesday in Gainesville. The win keeps the Lions (6-8, 5-5 Region 8-A) in the hunt for the postseason.
"I live for those situations," said Simpson, whose two-out home run came on a 3-2 hanging curveball. "I like the pressure with people on base and the game on the line."
The season was also on the line, as Lakeview entered Wednesday's game in seventh place. The win did not move the Lions up in the standings, but it did keep them two games behind Athens Christian for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Lions' next four games, including today's game in Commerce, are against the top four teams in the region.
That's why Wednesday's win against the Wolverines (6-8, 6-6) was so crucial.
"This was a do-or-die game," Lakeview coach Deuce Roark said. "We had to win too stay in the playoffs, and it didn't look good there early on."
With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, the Wolverines sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs on four hits. Prince Avenue's last three batters in the lineup started the rally with a pair of singles and a hit batter that loaded the bases for Carl Mattox. Mattox lined a double down the left field line to clear the bases and give the Wolverines a 4-1 lead. Prince Avenue scored three more runs on a sacrifice fly, an error and an RBI single from Hayden Carey.
"I was a little worried because we haven't been in that situation," Roark said of the large deficit.
Knowing that it was getting late in the game and that Prince Avenue's starting pitcher might be getting tired, Roark instructed his team to be patient at the plate.
The players listened, and after two walks to start the inning, Derek Fadool lined a triple to left field that scored two runs and jump-started the Lakeview offense. After Fadool scored on a wild pitch, and Austin Montgomery drew a walk, Ramsey Hill and Nick Drury hit back-to-back singles to get the Lions within two.
A Dallas Deavers sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Spencer Sorrells tied the game and set up Simpson's dramatic home run.
"That was huge because home runs always excite everybody," Roark said. "That was crucial, and I'm thankful we were able to have that moment."
Simpson believes the win will help the team as it embarks on a four-game stretch against Commerce (10-4, 9-4), George Walton Academy (12-4, 10-2), Hebron Christian (16-1, 11-1) and Athens Christian (10-5, 7-5).
"It's a huge win because it gets us rolling for Commerce," Simpson said. "Hopefully it'll have a snowball effect."