Even though Lakeside doesn't have a winning record in baseball, the Panthers will be a threat in the region playoffs that begin this weekend.
Lakeside pitcher Sean Harrell is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
One of the biggest reasons for Lakeside's turnaround from a 3-6 start to a 6-4 record in its past 10 games has been the play of senior pitcher Sean Harrell.
"I think he is the best pitcher in the county," said Lakeside senior Carl Burrow. "He has been outstanding for us, and he is one of the reasons we have been playing great baseball lately."
But it wasn't going so well for Harrell a few weeks back.
The senior pitcher came in March 19 against Evans in relief and tossed five innings of two-hit ball. He also gave up the tying and winning runs on bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-4 loss.
Harrell said that game is in the back of his mind every time he takes the mound.
It also has made him a better pitcher, says coach Jay Matthews.
"That is the sort of thing that can really get into a kid's head," he said. "But rather than be a negative, Sean has turned it into a positive. He has pitched as good as I've ever seen him since that night."
Harrell went on to avenge the loss by beating Evans and Greenbrier. He then pitched six innings of shutout ball in a 2-0 home win over Greenbrier on April 19. The win gave the Panthers (9-10, 4-4 Region 2-AAAA) the season sweep of the Wolfpack for the first time in school history.
Harrell's record is 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA, and he has worked nearly twice as much as any other Panther pitcher.
"I like being the go-to guy," Harrell said. "I like having the responsibility, especially after the Evans loss. I wanted to show my teammates that game wouldn't keep me down. I won't let that happen my senior season."
Harrell also is one of the better hitters for the Panthers and plays third base when he isn't pitching. Harrell's single against Greenbrier knocked in the go-ahead run in the game.
"He is a well-rounded player," Burrow said. "He can do everything great. He's a great guy to have on your team."
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