Lakeside High School's baseball team has lofty goals. Among them are winning another region title and advancing past the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Defeating rivals is a bonus.
The Panthers opened their season at home Wednesday by beating rival Greenbrier 9-6 after overcoming a 4-1 deficit.
"We kind of got down," Panthers coach T.J. Davis said. "But we came together as a group, fought through it and ended up on the positive end of it."
Jeffrey Stoner earned the win for Lakeside his first start. Stoner, who signed with Francis Marion University before the season, allowed two home runs to red-hot Kyler Timmerman, but was otherwise solid.
"He threw a gem," senior teammate Ben Black said.
Black relieved Stoner in the sixth to close the victory. The Wolfpack had won seven of the last eight in the series, including a sweep in 2009.
The Panthers said Wednesday's victory should be a good springboard.
"We feel like we can beat anybody in our region after that game," Black said.
Stoner was also 2 for 2 at the plate, and Andy Pringle added two hits for the Panthers.
Greenbrier coach Chris Wilkins said the Wolfpack struggled with its control on the mound. Lakeside drew 10 walks.
"It doesn't matter how many seniors you've got returning," Wilkins said. "When you don't throw strikes, you're going to struggle."
Evans 3, Greenbrier 2
Evans pitcher Matt Blume started the season strong and helped the Knights to a season-opening victory over their rivals.
Blume threw six strong innings, escaped a few jams and gave way to Rick Thigpen, who survived the heart of the Wolfpack lineup.
"We overcame an obstacle tonight," senior Tevin Nelson said.
"We know it's a good rival game and we know they're a good baseball team. For us to come out here and take care of business like this, it shows that we're on the right foot."
Blume's only costly mistake was a pitch Greenbrier's Kyler Timmerman sent over the center field fence. The shot tied the game at one in the fourth.
Blume retired the three batters after Timmerman's home run. He forced a double play to escape a jam the next inning and limited Greenbrier to a run during a tough sixth.
The game appeared hinged on how the starters would fare down the stretch.
But Evans pushed across two more during the fifth. Jordan Rice tripled and scored when the throw to third came in high. Nelson scored his second run after a pop-up landed between three Greenbrier players.
"We had opportunities to do big things," Timmerman said. "We just didn't get the job done."
Greenbrier 12, Harlem 2
The smattering of fans to brave the face-numbing wind at Greenbrier on Thursday were thanked when the home team shortened the game.
Greenbrier earned its first victory of the season in five innings. Harlem started flat and dropped to 1-1.
"It's definitely good to finally get one," Greenbrier coach Chris Wilkins said.
"It beats the heck out of losing."
Wolfpack catcher Shawn McCain started his first game on the mound and settled after allowing the Bulldogs' two runs during the first.
The Wolfpack chased Harlem starter Jay Aplin in the second. They scored four in the first and six in the second.
The teams meet again at Harlem on Monday.
"We got a lot of work in a lot of positions," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said. "I don't know who it's going to be, but there may be some drastic changes before our next ball game."
Harlem 9, Thomson 8
Harlem opened the season with a thriller at home, knocking off neighboring county rivals.
Derek Beasley started for the Bulldogs before giving way to Jay Aplin and Josh Wirsu. Hunter Hamilton pitched the extra innings for Harlem.
"We hit the ball when we had to and made plays when we had to," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said.
"Thomson's a heck of a team. We were lucky to win, I'll be the first one to tell you."
Lewis said he was pleased with the way Bulldogs pitchers threw strikes, though Thomson hit three home runs.
Harlem plays at Thomson on Thursday.
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