After being the underdog for the past two weeks, the Lakeside Panthers took on their new role as favorite on Friday night.
It fit them well as the No. 1-seed Panthers swept the No. 4-seed Glynn Academy Terrors, 2-1 and 9-3, in the first round of the Georgia High School Association’s Class AAAAA state baseball tournament.
The Panthers (19-7) set the tone for the night in Game 1, getting out to a quick 2-0 first-inning lead and then turned the game over to starting pitcher Hunter Hubbard.
“I don’t think we took them for granted and we jumped on them early in the first game and it’s a good thing and Hunter threw a great game tonight, phenomenal,” Lakeside coach Jay Matthews said.
The Terrors got to Hubbard (4-2) for a double and a run-scoring single in the fourth inning but Hubbard scattered just four more hits the rest of the way in the win. The Panthers big right-hander struck out seven while walking one.
While Lakeside pitchers allowed two hits in the nightcap, there were more nail-biting moments than in the first game.
Cole Pittman (7-1) escaped a base-loaded jam in the first inning, allowing one run and gave up two runs in the fifth after walking the bases loaded with one out. He got the win, striking out nine while walking seven, throwing 109 pitches a week after throwing over 100 in his previous outing.
Junior Evan Krenz came on in relief in the sixth inning after Pittman walked the leadoff batter. After an error and a walk, Krenz found himself facing the Terrors best hitter – Ryan Lawless – with two outs and the bases loaded.
Pittman had pitched him carefully, walking Lawless in his first three at-bats. When the count went to 3-2, Krenz didn’t give in and got him to ground out to shortstop, protecting the 6-3 lead.
“Krenz has to come in and face their big guy with bases loaded and even in a full-count situation he throws a curveball and shows you what kind of confidence all of our guys have,” Matthews said.
After scoring the two runs on only three hits in Game 1, the Panthers got to three Glynn Academy pitchers for 10 hits in the nightcap.
“The key was just to get people on and we finally started swinging the bats hard,” said Lakeside catcher Stephen Hutto, who had two hits and an RBI in the second game.