The Statesboro Blue Devils walked away from Lakeside with a shiny new trophy after defeating the Panthers 12-4 in the Region 2-AAAA Championship baseball game Friday night.
Lakeside pitcher Sean Harrell, who pitched the first five innings against Statesboro, was disappointed by the loss.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Blue Devils (13-11) had previously defeated Evans and Greenbrier en route to the region championship.
In the first inning, both teams scored two runs, but Statesboro's defense allowed the Panthers only two more runs, which came in the fifth inning.
Lakeside pitcher Sean Harrell and center fielder Jeff Rowland scored runs in the first inning, while the Blue Devils scored in almost every inning. Statesboro racked up six runs between the sixth and seventh innings to win the game and the region title.
But all is not lost for the Panthers, who will play a double-header in the first round of the state playoffs Friday. Harrell, who pitched the first five innings of Friday's game, was disappointed by the loss to Statesboro but found consolation in knowing that they will have the opportunity to try again this week.
"That takes a little of the anger off, but knowing you'll be playing next week and at home is a good feeling," Harrell said.
He directs some of that anger at himself, explaining that he takes much of the blame for his team's loss.
"I know I didn't make the pitches I needed to make," said Harrell, who will play for Georgia College & State University next year.
Like Harrell, Lakeside head coach Jay Matthews was disappointed, but he was proud of his team's work in making it to the region championship this year.
"We get out here and work hard every day," Matthews said. "As far as my guys' intensity and effort, they had it."
He said his team needs to work on situational hitting, while Harrell said the Panthers could have played better defensively against Statesboro.
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