The last time Evans High School and Lakeside met this year it was to determine seeding for the Region 2-AAAAA tournament.
Lakeside won that game, taking two-of-three regular-season meetings, and were the subregion’s No. 2 team.
When the teams squared off Friday night, it was for seeding again, this time for the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state tournament which starts on Friday, May 2.
The Knights (16-10) got a gem of a performance on the mound from senior left-hander David Rivera and the Knights evened the season series with a 10-2 win, earning a No. 3 slot in the state tournament in the process.
“I think the most important thing was to get a good feeling going into next week,” said Knights’ head coach Ricky Beale.
The Panthers (10-14) will enter state play as a No. 4 seed and both will start on the road.
“We get a shot at it, we get the same shot as everybody else at this point and we’re excited to get there,” said Panthers’ first-year head coach Brad Freeman.
After giving up a Joseph Kortick RBI double in the first inning, that would be all Rivera (4-1) would allow until the seventh inning. Beale pulled him after he walked a batter and gave up two two-out hits.
He finished allowing the two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Hunter Morris came on in relief to nail down the final out.
“I felt it was very important to work as a team, it was a good team win,” said Rivera.
After consecutive singles from Brice Harrison, Colin Dominy and Connor Murray loaded the bases to start the second inning, Panthers’ starter Cole Pittman (2-2) walked Kelvin McCladdie as the Knights tied the score. With one out, Elliott Melton laid down a perfect suicide squeeze scoring Dominy but that would be it.
Harrison led the Knights with three hits and three RBI and Melton would contribute two RBI.
The Knights added two in the third, with the Panthers committing two of their three errors. The Knights knocked Pittman out of the game in the fourth inning after he surrendered an RBI triple to Melton, an Alec Watts run-scoring single and Harrison’s RBI double.
The Knights got insurance runs in the top of the seventh, scoring three more times.
“We’ve won big games at big times and tonight just didn’t go our way,” said Freeman.