The Lakeside Panthers’ games in the opening round of the Georgia High School Association’s Class AAAAA state baseball tournament were as dissimilar as the hurlers pitching them Friday night.
Behind hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Hunter Hubbard, the Panthers won a crisp 2-1 decision over the Glynn Academy Terrors in game one. The nightcap brought more intrigue with crafty left-hander Cole Pittman on the mound, but the result was the same as the Panthers won 9-3, advancing to the state’s second round with the sweep.
Hubbard knows it’s difficult for teams to adjust to the two different styles.
“Oh it’s very hard with me being a righty and him being a lefty,” said Hubbard. “He’s got four pitches, I’ve got two. He’s got a slider, I don’t have any of that. But you know he’s going to go out there and dominate every single game. He’s one of the best pitchers on the team.”
The Panthers set the tone for the night in the first inning of game one.
Hubbard (4-2) came out blowing fastballs by the Terrors first two batters for strikeouts, then the Panthers (19-7) struck for two quick runs when Tanner Brassell and Chandler Corley singled with one out and came home on Lane Wallace’s single.
Those runs would be more than enough for Hubbard who finished his complete-game outing with seven strikeouts and a walk while scattering six hits.
Noah Norton pitched well for the Terrors (15-12) but still took the loss despite allowing just three hits.
After being the underdog for the past two weeks, the No. 1 seed Panthers took on their new role as favorite smartly, knowing not to overlook the No. 4 seed Terrors.
“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 (Hubbard) threw a great game tonight, phenomenal,” said Panthers’ head coach Jay Matthews.
In the nightcap, the Panthers bats woke up, clubbing out 10 hits and they were helped by the Terrors four errors although they committed four themselves.
“The key was just to get people on and we finally started swinging the bats hard,” said Panthers catcher Stephen Hutto, who had two hits and an RBI in game two.
Pittman and Evan Krenz combined to two-hit the Terrors in the nightcap, but there were plenty of nail-biting moments.
Pittman (7-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, allowing just one run on a throwing error, then the Panthers got him the lead for good.
As the visitors in game two, the Panthers came to the plate in the second inning and got run-scoring singles from Joseph Kortick and Hutto that plated McTier Mosley and Tanner Durand.
Hutto. Mosley, Corley and Tyler Williams would each finish the game with two hits apiece.
Hutto scored on a throwing error and Corley drove in Williams for a 4-1 lead in the fourth and Mosley scored on a wild pitch in the fifth as they built a 5-1 cushion.
Pittman gave up two runs in the fifth after walking the bases loaded with one out and would be pulled after walking the leadoff batter in the sixth. He got the win striking out nine while walking seven, throwing 109 pitches a week after throwing over 100 in his last outing.
Krenz came on in relief for Pittman. After an error and a walk, Krenz found himself facing the Terrors best hitter Ryan Lawless with two outs and bases loaded. Pittman had pitched him carefully, walking Lawless in his first three at-bats. With nowhere to put him, Krenz had to pitch to him. When the count went to 3-2 Krenz didn’t give in and got him to ground to shortstop, protecting the Panthers 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.
The Panthers added three in the seventh and Krenz’s final innning was uneventful.
Lakeside will now face the winner of Northside-Columbus/Whitewater at home on Wednesday, May 8.