Panthers to face Marist in finals

LAKESIDE 13-9, WAYNE COUNTY 5-5

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JESUP, Ga.---The Lakeside baseball team will play for its first state championship at home this weekend.

The fourth-ranked Panthers punched their ticket to the best-of-three title series with a two-game sweep of third-ranked Wayne County on Monday at Howard Bo Warren Field in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAA semifinals, winning 13-5 and 9-5 to advance to their first finals series.

"This feels fantastic," said Lakeside's second-year head coach T.J. Davis. "The biggest thing is these seniors have stepped up and filled some gaps and now they get to play for what they've wanted for a long time."

The Panthers (29-6), the top seed from Region 3-AAAA, will play host to Marist in the finals. Marist, which also won the first two games in its semifinals series Monday at Whitewater, is a No. 2 seed and thus must stay on the road to face the Panthers.

The championship series, which will open Friday or Saturday, will be a matchup of last year's quarterfinals, when Marist knocked the Panthers out.

"You couldn't ask for anything better than this," said Lakeside catcher Clayton Miller.

Coming into the semifinals against the Yellow Jackets (29-5), it was the Wayne offense that drew high praise for its potent attack. But on Tuesday, the Panthers outslugged the Jackets over the two games, banging out a combined 26 hits while belting six homers.

Miller and designated hitter Derek Russo were both 6-for-7 in the doubleheader. Miller, who hit for the cycle in the opener, ripped two homers and drove in five runs in two games, while Russo also hit a homer and had two RBI.

The Jackets did get a combined 20 hits against Lakeside pitching but failed to match the Panthers on the scoreboard as they couldn't produce the timely hits that helped them win their first six games in the postseason.

"Our guys got big outs when we needed them to stop the bleeding," Davis said. "They didn't allow them to string a bunch of hits together."

In the opener, the Panthers rode a 15-hit attack that included four home runs and a complete-game pitching performance by Jeffrey Stoner to rout the Jackets.

Lakeside couldn't have asked for a better start to the series as the Panthers scored six runs on four hits in the top of the first while sending all nine batters to the plate.

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Trey Enfantay
9
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Trey Enfantay 05/25/10 - 06:07 am
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Who was the LHS starting

Who was the LHS starting pitcher for the second game?

agrit
180
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agrit 05/25/10 - 06:29 am
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Way to go Lakeside! If I

Way to go Lakeside! If I were going to be in town this weekend I would certainly be at the game. You've already made us proud. Take it one step further and bring it home guys.

Riverman1
93581
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Riverman1 05/25/10 - 06:51 am
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Lakeside was much more

Lakeside was much more talented than Wayne County. Let's hope Thomson pulls it off today, too.

Riverman1
93581
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Riverman1 05/25/10 - 03:31 pm
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I have been saying forever

I have been saying forever that Lakeside played Marist in the state championship game in 1993. This story and several others have said they only made it to the quarter finals. Ashley Brown is now agreeing with me that Lakeside did make it to the championship game. Who is right?

augos
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augos 05/25/10 - 03:57 pm
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Congratulations to LHS! What

Congratulations to LHS! What a day Miller and Russo had. Nice to see these two get some press. All of Columbia County and the CSRA needs to try to get out and pack the park at Lakeside on Friday.

redapples
681
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redapples 05/25/10 - 09:30 pm
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Yes, all of the CSRA should

Yes, all of the CSRA should come out and support the Panthers against Marist. Community support would be awesome!!!

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