Grovetown High School baseball's first taste of county competition did not go as well as Mike Jones would have hoped.
The first-year coach of the first-year program said his young team would remain focused on trying to improve, with a little extra emphasis placed on county powers like Lakeside.
The Panthers won at home Friday, defeating Grovetown 11-1 after 41/2 innings.
"The more we play together, the better," Jones said. "We got to keep working. We don't want to have a whole lot of these."
Grovetown was 0-3 through Friday.
The schedule does not get much more favorable this week. The Warriors play host to Evans today and welcome Greenbrier on Saturday.
After the Lakeside loss, Jones credited what could be the region's top team for playing as it was capable. The Panthers remained undefeated with the victory. They improved to 2-0 in Region 3-AAAA. The victories came by a combined 22 runs.
"Lakeside's a heck of a team," Jones said. "They hit the ball well. They do everything right."
The Panthers did not show the power that characterized a few of their early victories, but they did enough Friday to remove any doubt early.
Leadoff man Spencer Starnes reached safely all four of his at-bats. He walked twice, doubled and bunted for a single. He also stole a base and scored two runs. Lakeside's Will Hogan doubled and drove in three runs. He also earned the victory on the mound, pitching all five innings.
Hogan said the Panthers benefit from having strength throughout the lineup.
"Everybody's hitting the ball pretty well," he said. "We don't really have a weak spot in the lineup."
The big pitcher struck out six. The Warriors got to him for seven hits but could manage only a fourth-inning run.
Hogan said he thought he left his fastball up in the zone a little too often, but otherwise threw well. He said Grovetown looked like a young team.
"Once they start playing together, it should be pretty good," Hogan said.
His counterpart, Grovetown pitcher Blake Lane, retired the powerful trio of Jeffrey Stoner, Zach Hayden and Hogan in the first. That was probably the highlight of Lane's outing.
Grovetown designated hitter Mitch Davis came through with an RBI single in the fourth. Davis said the Panthers' succeeded by limiting their mistakes in the field.
"For an overall outing, it wasn't too bad," he said.
Jones said he thought his team gave the Panthers too many extra outs. Two Panthers batters who reached on errors came around to score.
"The team that plays the best defense is going to have the best shot to win it," he said. "And they played the best defense."
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