Every indication from Wednesday's doubleheader split seemed to suggest that Game 3 Thursday between Lakeside and Lee County would be a close, hard-fought battle.
Wil Hogan and the Panthers' offense had other ideas.
Hogan pitched a complete-game shutout, and Lakeside scored early and often in a 10-0 win in the deciding game of the Georgia High School Association second-round Class AAAA playoff series.
"We just tried to push the bases and play basic ball," Lakeside coach T.J. Davis said. "They just made a couple of mistakes and we capitalized on them. We swung a lot better, a lot harder and hit some balls to the hole."
On Thursday, Lakeside won the first game, 3-1, while Lee County took the second, 4-2.
Hogan allowed only a pair of singles and a double over five innings. He needed to go no further because the run rule ended the game prematurely.
The Panthers (25-5) move on to the state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. There, they will take on Northgate High School of Newnan, Ga., in a home series beginning Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Wolfpack's season ends in third game of Round 2
Given the ease with which Greenbrier disposed of Chapel Hill in Game 1, Wolfpack baseball coach Chris Wilkins was not convinced that the best club was necessarily the one moving on to the next round.
"I think that the way this game works is what makes me love it the most," Wilkins said. "I'm certainly not trying to down their team at all -- they beat us two out of three, so they're moving on. But the best team doesn't always win in this game.
"I just have a hard time after that first game believing that the best team won the series. But the team that made the timely plays won the series."
Greenbrier outscored Chapel Hill by two runs over the course of three games. However, after winning 18-7 in Game 1, losses by scores of 4-1 and 10-4 ended the Wolfpack's season.
In the opening game, the Wolfpack entered the bottom of the sixth inning with a three-run lead. The first grand slam of the inning came from Ben Morgan. It was just the senior's second home run at Greenbrier.
Then, Sam Daniel hit his own grand slam, his second homer of the game that put him at seven RBI for the game.
In the nightcap, Morgan opened the game with a single up the middle. It turned out to be the team's only hit of the game, as Chapel Hill starter Austin Rains dominated the Wolfpack lineup.
Fast-forward to Game 3 on Thursday.
The Wolfpack threatened on several occasions to break open the game, but they could manage only four runs on eight hits. Meanwhile, the Panthers played small ball perfectly.
Greenbrier loaded the bases with one out in the final inning. But the Wolfpack fell short in their comeback attempt, finishing the season at 22-9.
Bulldogs fall short
Harlem's season came to an end Wednesday when Jones County swept the Bulldogs, 9-4 and 6-2, in the second round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs.
"We got beat twice by a better team today," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said after the series. "Even if we play them two more tomorrow, I think they still probably whip us two more times. They hit well, have great speed, and their pitchers do a good job."
Harlem out-hit the Greyhounds, 11-8, in the opening game, with eight of the Bulldogs' hits coming from leadoff man Tyler James and No. 3 batter Derek Beasley.
They were both 4-for-4 in the game, with Beasley driving in James in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings.
Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup produced only three hits.
Beasley, who also pitched the opener, had an outstanding day at the plate, going 6-for-8 with two doubles and five RBIs. On the mound, Beasley gave up seven earned runs on six hits and five walks. He struck out six.
Josh Wirsu went the distance for Harlem in Game 2. He allowed six runs on 11 hits, walking three, hitting one batter and striking out seven.
The Bulldogs finish the season at 16-8.
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