In Columbia County, baseball is king. And since the doors opened at Lakeside High School, the Panthers have had to play second fiddle to their Columbia County rivals.
Lakeside has had some solid campaigns, but when you are dealing with Evans, Harlem and Greenbrier, a trio that has won a combined 17 state titles, well, "solid campaigns" can get lost in the shuffle.
New Lakeside coach T.J. Davis is doing his best to get Panthers fans thinking championship. Talk of a state crown is premature, but a region title is certainly in sight.
The Panthers lead Region 3-AAAA with only a couple of weeks left in the regular season. Lakeside (13-4, 10-1) has eight games remaining, including six region contests. The list includes a trio of marquee games starting tomorrow.
The Panthers play host to Cross Creek on Monday and travel to Westside on Wednesday before a home tilt with Harlem on Saturday.
Lakeside is far from having things sewn up in 3-AAAA. Harlem, Westside and Evans are all still in the region title hunt.
Harlem (12-3, 8-2) played Cross Creek last week and will play Westside on April 29 after that huge game with Lakeside on Saturday. This is a makeup game from a rain-out on April 2. The Bulldogs will be trying to exact revenge after losing 7-5 to the Panthers earlier this season.
And let's not forget about Evans.
The Knights sit at 13-6 overall and 9-3 in region play, so they have some catching up to do. However, keep in mind if Evans gets by Westside, it should run the table in the remainder of region play since it has already played Lakeside and Harlem.
As many expected, it appears this region race will be coming down to the wire.
A quick note on Rich Poythress: The former Greenbrier star was named Midseason All-American by Baseball America .
It was an easy selection. The first baseman leads the nation in RBI with 60 in just 36 games for the nationally ranked Georgia Bulldogs. He is second in the nation in homers with 16, and second in total bases. He is ninth nationally in slugging percentage and has a .430 batting average.
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