The Grovetown High baseball team hung tough last week against perhaps the premier baseball team in its region, Lakeside.
The Warriors produced more strikeouts of Panthers batters, more hits and more home runs during a Wednesday matchup at home. But Grovetown also committed more errors and more walks.
Grovetown's negatives couldn't overcome its positives in the 8-6 loss.
"We made some mistakes on defense that cost us," said Warriors head coach Mike Jones, whose team is 6-9. "Nine times out of 10, the team that makes the fewest mistakes on defense is going to win."
Pitcher Blake Lane opened the game by walking Spencer Starnes, who later reached home after Lakeside slugger Kody Belcher delivered a shot over the left field fence.
In fact, Starnes reached base four times without producing a single hit -- once on the walk and three other times on errors committed by Grovetown.
Warrior pitchers walked 10 Lakeside batters during the game.
The team had more success with their bats, and tied the game in the third with a pair of home runs by Jamal Cummings and Jeremiah Shaeffer.
Lakeside (14-1) countered in the next inning. Slugger Wil Hogan led off the fourth with a homer followed by a Zach Hayden double. A wild pitch sent Hayden to third. Ben Black got a free pass to first and then immediately stole second. Grovetown left fielder Fabian Chinea misjudged a shot by Starnes, which fell and brought Hayden and Black home.
Grovetown closed the gap in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run homer by Shaeffer after Garrett Haskins reached base on an error.
But again, Lakeside answered in the following inning. The Panthers reached home three times in the sixth, all because of pitching mistakes and walks.
Grovetown nearly rallied in the seventh.
The final inning started with Chinea walking. Cummings and Haskins loaded the bases by each producing singles. Chinea made it home following a wild pitch. Then Cummings found his way home after shortstop Black missed a shot from Lane. That's when Lakeside ace Hayden ended the game on a strikeout, the only one produced by Panthers pitchers.
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