Lakeside High School's baseball season started on the slow side.
Heavy rains soaked its field and reshuffled schedules. The Panthers dropped two games to rival Greenbrier and lost to Evans to open Region 3-AAAA play.
But since then, the Panthers have been hard to stop.
They had won seven consecutive games through Wednesday, including an 11-6 victory over Westside on Monday. Westside was previously unbeaten in the region.
"The guys are gelling together," Panthers coach T.J. Davis said. "They're doing the right things to get better."
The win over Westside created a three-way tie atop the region, with Harlem joining Lakeside and Westside with one loss.
"Of course, every game we want to go out and play hard," Panthers pitcher Harrison Brawley said after the win. "But this one meant a lot to us knowing they hadn't lost in the region. We wanted to get after them and win a pretty big game."
Brawley pitched five innings to earn the win. He allowed four runs in the first three innings before retiring six of the last eight Patriots batters.
The Panthers played an error-free game, capped when shortstop Patrick Arrington made a diving catch to end it.
Westside coach Gerald Barnes said he felt his team gave away too much defensively.
"They played a lot better than we did," Barnes said. "We were missing balls that we normally field."
Patriots pitcher Christian Bragg dropped his first start in six decisions.
The Panthers capitalized early, scoring three runs in the first and two in the second. Arrington went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs. The senior also made five putouts during the final three innings.
"He played both sides of the ball very well," Lakeside coach T.J. Davis said.
The Panthers scored in every inning but the fifth.
Lakeside's Collin Parker scored three times from the eighth spot, and leadoff man Preston Pye scored twice.
Lakeside third baseman Ben Black left the game after he was struck in the temple by a ground ball.
Ryan Shipp replaced Black, who was told by the team's trainer he had a mild concussion.
Greenbrier 7, M.L. King 2
Greenbrier won its fifth in a row to start Region 2-AAAAA play.
Evans 15, Hephzibah 5; Evans 9, Cross Creek 1
The Knights improved to 5-2 in Region 3-AAAA entering a meeting this past Friday with Richmond Academy.
Harlem 18, Butler 0; Harlem 17, Josey 0
Harlem beat up on the Bulldogs and Eagles before a key region game held at Westside Friday.
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