Lakeside's propensity for squeaking out close victories propelled the Panthers to a two-game sweep of Westside Macon on Friday in the semifinals of the GHSL 2-AAAA baseball playoffs.
A two-run seventh inning erased a 3-2 deficit en route to a 4-3 victory in game one. Lakeside starting pitcher Peter Alewine doubled home the tying run and the winning run came in on a passed pall.
Westside (16-10) surrendered four runs in the first two innings of game two and the Seminoles' comeback attempt was thwarted by the Panthers. Lakeside held on to win 5-4.
"The key was beating them the first game," said Panthers coach Jimmy Smith. "If we could get by that we would be all right. We had a little bit of confidence after the first game. You've got to have some confidence to learn to win those games."
The Panthers (19-9) will play at cross-town rival Evans, the defending region champions, in a one-game playoff Tuesday for the top seed out of the region.
"I thought we were going to score a bunch of runs after the first inning," Smith said of game two. "But the bats slowed down, then we manufactured some runs."
Alewine (4-2) earned the victory in game one while Mike Norland (10-2) averted trouble in the seventh of game two to register the win. The junior walked Chandler Penn to open the seventh before picking him off first base, striking out Chad Melvin and enticing a ground ball from Andrew Outz.
Lakeside is making its fifth appearance in the region title game for the fifth time in six seasons.
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