Sometimes perfor-mances that are pretty impressive are overshadowed by bigger events.
Case in point, during the 1992 National League Championship Series, I watched game seven from a Holiday Inn in Statesboro, Ga. While the Atlanta Braves battled the Pittsburgh Pirates for a chance to play in the World Series, I battled gravity while performing a series of back flips on the hotel bed.
After numerous unsuccessful attempts, I nailed a beautiful half back flip/half twist with what might have been a partial gainer and somehow stuck the landing. It was a performance worthy of international attention.
Unfortunately, that shining moment in hotel bedroom gymnastics history has been all but forgotten. On that night, Francisco Cabrera laced a single into left center field to score Sid Bream and win the 1992 championship. Everybody remembers that moment in Major League Baseball history, but forgets the half back flip/half twist/partial gainer at the Holiday Inn in Statesboro.
I suppose it was meant to be. For here we are, well over a decade later, and a similar situation has occurred.
The Greenbrier softball team swept the Class AAAA state south sectional in dramatic fashion last weekend and advanced to the state finals tournament. The Lady Wolfpack got all of the publicity and exposure, and deservedly so. Seven straight Elite Eight appearances is more than enough to earn a front page story. It wasn't the only impressive performance of the day, however.
The Lakeside Lady Panthers pulled off an amazing, but mostly overlooked, run in that same tournament.
Lakeside entered the state south sectional as a No. 2 seed, but in the first round Friday the Lady Panthers suffered an upset at the hands of third-seeded Whitewater - a team that, like Greenbrier, didn't lose a single game in the entire state sectional. As a result, the Lady Panthers entered Saturday's play knowing that their next loss would be the last game of the season.
Though Greenbrier played in only one game that day and beat Northgate to advance to the state finals tournament, Lakeside needed four wins to advance.
Starting in the first round of the losers' bracket, the Lady Panthers knocked off one team after another. In the first game of the day, it was a 15-0 blowout over Americus-Sumter. With no break, Lakeside did it again in the second round with a 3-0 shutout victory to eliminate Class AAAA No. 10 Griffin. The same thing happened in the third round when the Lady Panthers, still without a break, ended Stockbridge's season with a 1-0 win.
The three consecutive wins while facing elimination put Lakeside one victory away from a state-finals bid. Facing Starr's Mill, the team that beat Evans in the first round of the tournament, Lakeside took the field for the fourth time in seven hours.
As though four games in one day weren't enough, this last one went into extra innings.
On and on they battled through seven innings of regulation play. An extra eighth inning still ended in a scoreless tie. Finally, in the ninth inning, Starr's Mill broke through with a single run to win the game and end Lakeside's season.
Although the Lady Panthers' playoff run came one game short that day, they didn't go down without a fight. While Greenbrier, like Sid Bream and Francisco Cabrera, got the headlines, the Lady Panthers made some memories they'll never forget. Lakeside's only losses of the tournament came to teams who have advanced to the state finals tournament, and the Lady Panthers owned the second highest run total (20) of the tournament.
Lakeside head coach Jay Matthews can only be proud of his team. The squad had only four seniors on the roster, but they put together one of the most inspiring runs at the state sectional.
Good job, Lady Panthers. In my opinion, this is only the beginning.
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