Friday night’s game between Lakeside and South Effingham was a matchup of two teams headed in opposite directions.
The Panthers, who have been in a slide since the teams met three weeks ago, saw their struggles continue, falling 6-5 in eight innings.
After starting the season 7-2, the Panthers (9-7, 0-6 Region 2-AAAA) have lost six of eight games while the Mustangs (13-3, 4-2) have gone 7-2 in that span.
South Effingham’s Tony Hunter drilled a leadoff homer in the top of the eighth inning for the winning run after the Panthers left the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
Neither team could take command of a sloppy game with the teams combining for seven errors.
“Our last two or three games have been just like this,” Panthers head coach Jay Matthews said. “They (Panthers) give themselves some opportunities to win some games, it just hasn’t happened yet.”
Hunter Hubbbard (1-3), who came on in relief of starter Cole Pittman, worked the final 3⅓ innings and took the loss. He gave up three runs, only one of which was earned.
Albee Johnson (4-1) picked up the win after getting the final out in the seventh and working a scoreless eighth.
Panthers’ junior shortstop Lane Wallace was a central figure in the game. With the Panthers leading 4-3, he committed two errors in the top of the fifth that allowed two runs to score.
He tripled to lead off the bottom of the inning. He scored on Tanner Durand’s sacrifice fly.
Wallace came up once more with the bases loaded in the seventh, and was retired for the final out when the right fielder made a long run to catch his deep fly ball in foul territory.