Harlem High School baseball coach Jimmie Lewis talked to T.J. Davis the night before Davis' Lakeside team played its final regular season game.
Lewis said he wanted to make sure Davis knew the Panthers had all but locked up the region title.
Davis knew, after some number-crunching following the Panthers win over the Bulldogs April 25.
After Lakeside beat Josey 15-0 Wednesday to end the season, the Panthers were announced as region champions on senior night. Davis was showered with ice in a surprise attack after being lured into posing for pictures.
"Relaxed time, finally," Davis said. "We don't relax much over there."
Davis knew before the game that his team held the tie-breaker over Westside if each finished with two region losses.
Harlem made it moot by beating Westside 13-8 Wednesday to deny the Patriots the second seed and a home Class AAAA playoff series. Evans earned the No. 2 seed and the right to play host by owning the tie-breaker over both Harlem and Westside.
The Panthers' run to the region title could be tied to their first-year coach, but Davis was quick to direct praise to the strong returning cast he inherited.
"They're the ones who did the work," Davis said. "It doesn't come down to me and the coaches."
Said catcher Mike Gram: "It's good, man. It's about time we get a region title."
The Bulldogs' win over the Patriots meant a rematch Thursday decided the No. 3 and No. 4 seed, with Harlem beating Westside 5-3 . Both will open the Class AAAA playoffs on the road.
Westside coach Gerald Barnes said he knew the implications of the first game, but that he didn't dwell on it with his team beforehand.
"I think we understood we needed to come up here and play, and that all of those things take care of themselves if you play well," Barnes said.
In Wednesday's game, Harlem poured it on days after a loss to Lakeside ended the Bulldogs' shot at one of the region's top two seeds.
"We needed a victory to get back on track a little bit for the playoffs," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said.
The Bulldogs trailed 5-2 entering the bottom of the fourth, but scored 11 runs the next three innings to break it open.
The Patriots put together a two-out rally in the sixth, but Harlem pitcher Michael Brewster entered and got a strikeout to end the inning.
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