Let the celebration begin

Lakeside players and coaches celebrate after capturing the AISA Class AA state championship with a doubleheader sweep of Autauga Academy Tuesday at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium.

See several photos from the Lakeside Chiefs' state championship in the weekend issue of the Eufaula Tribune.

MONTGOMERY – Lakeside pitcher and tournament Most Valuable Player Taylor Gover said the enormity of winning the AISA Class AA state championship hasn’t hit him yet.

“It’ll probably hit me tomorrow,” said Gover, a senior right-hander who was the winning pitcher in both of the Chiefs’ victories – 2-1 in 10 innings and 8-0 – Tuesday over Autauga Academy at Riverwalk Stadium.

Gover knew this much already: “It’s a great feeling.”

Lakeside head coach Scott Ates said the Chiefs’ appreciation for their title run will only deepen.

“I told our guys, people will remember you forever,” said Ates, who played on the 1986 state championship team at Walton High in DeFuniak Springs. “Thirty years from now you’ll walk back into your hometown and you’ll be remembered. That’s the best accolade you can give a kid.”

Lakeside finished the season 27-8 and in the playoffs swept Pickens Academy, Patrician Academy and Autauga Academy in the finals. The baseball program also won state titles in 2000 and, ironically, 1986.

The Generals (39-11) made nothing easy for the Chiefs. Of course, the champions never blinked, either.

Game 1

Lakeside 2,

Autauga Academy 1 (10 innings)

Lakeside starter Jayce James, a junior left-hander, was in a pitcher’s duel with Autauga’s Kyrin Long. Both were dominant. James pitched nine innings and gave up five hits and one earned run with four walks and nine strikeouts.

Long pitched eight innings and gave up four hits, an unearned run with one walk, three hit batters and 10 strikeouts. Neither pitcher got a decision.

“If you ever wanted to see a great baseball game – pitching duel, two pitchers that got up there and competed, that was it,” Ates said between games. “Jayce did an outstanding job. He challenged the guys all day. Can’t be more proud of him. He had command of everything that he did today. Of course, so did Kyrin. He did a great job. It was two well-pitched games.”

Autauga Academy scored in the top of the third with a two-out rally. Consecutive walks to Tyson Tubbs and Mason Parker brought up Josh Kelsey, who singled to left and Tubbs scored the game’s first run. A groundout ended the inning.

Lakeside answered with an unearned run in the fourth. Gover lined a single to center to start the inning. With one out, Henry Reeves hit a liner to center. Trint Camp let the ball fall in front of him and nearly had a force at second base, but his throw short-hopped the infielder and Gover reached second.

Jacari Richardson then reached on a throwing error that enabled Gover to score from second and tie the game 1-all.

That’s where it stayed through the seventh and into the 10th inning. Gover, the Game 2 starter, relieved James for the top of the 10th and retired the Generals in order.

Christian Beasley led off the Chiefs’ 10th with a single to center. He went to second on Gover’s sacrifice bunt and moved to third when Brandon LeRoy singled to left, putting runners at the corners.

Reeves struck out swinging, but strike three was in the dirt and bounced in front of catcher Mason Parker.

That’s all Beasley needed to see at third base. He took off and the play at the plate was close.

Safe. Ball game.

“I got a good jump,” Beasley said. “I knew I had it if I dove on the right side. Sure enough, I dove and I was safe by a millisecond. It was definitely close.”

Ates had just talked to Beasley about taking a chance.

“I told him anything that gets away, you’re going to go and we’re going to score,” Ates said. “Sometimes Chase Riddle and the good Lord above look down on us.”

Game 2

Lakeside 8,

Autauga 0

Don’t let the final score fool you. This was a nail-biter, too.

Gover and Augauta Academy’s Graeson Myers were deadlocked 0-0 after four innings. To that point, the Generals had six hits and had left five runners on base. Lakeside had just one hit and two runners left on base.

But the game changed in the fourth inning. Reeves started the Chiefs’ fourth with an infield single. Richardson followed with hard bunt into the second baseman’s spot. But the bunt rotation of the defense meant no one was there. Richardson never stopped running and got a rare bunt double as Reeves reached third base.

Bowdy Wachs followed with a clutch single to center past a drawn-in infield and Lakeside led 2-0. Auston Welch singled to left field – and everybody kept running when the outfielder missed the ball and it rolled near the warning track. Wachs scored and Welch made it to third base. He scored on James’ sacrifice fly that made it 4-0.

Lakeside added a run in the fifth. LeRoy singled and his courtesy runner, Klayton Walker, scored on Richardson’s squeeze bunt single.

The Chiefs blew it open in the top of the seventh. They loaded the bases with two hit batters and a bunt single. Welch scored on a wild pitch and Gover had an RBI single to center. Beasley scored as LeRoy grounded into a double play that built the lead to 8-0.

Gover – who finished with an eight-hit shutout – and his defense did the rest. In fact, he retired the side in order for the only time in the seventh inning – and got three fine defensive plays to do it. Second baseman Beasley dove to his right, knocked down a hard ground ball and threw out Clay Gates for the first out. First baseman James dove to his left, snared a hot shot and beat Tubbs to the bag for the second out.

The final out came when Parker hit a “swinging bunt” that dribbled up the third-base line. Catcher Leroy pounced on it and threw a dart to first to clinch the game and the state title.

James, Beasley and Welch joined Gover on the all-tournament team from Lakeside.

Ates knew he had enough pieces to challenge for the crown.

“I felt like we put together a team that could challenge for the state championship,” the coach said. “This is my fourth year in the AISA. I’ve watched many other teams. I knew when we got these kids together we’d have a shot – if the stars aligned.

“No, you’ve got to have a little luck here and there. I mean, we laid down two perfect bunts to get runs. The stars aligned.”

BOX SCORES

GAME 1

May 7, 2019

AISA AA State Championship

at Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery

Autauga Academy

                AB    R    H    RBI

Gates      5      0      0      0

Tubbs      4      1      2      0

Parker     3      0      0      0

Kelsey     4      0      2      1

Long        4      0      1      0

Camp      3      0      0      0

Hamm     2      0      0      0

Peyton   1      0      0      0

Tate         2      0      0      0

Wallace                  2     0      0      0

Carr          3      0      0      0

Varon      0      0      0      0

Ussery    0      0      0      0

Totals    33      1      5      1

     SAC: Carr. 2B: Kelsey. SB: Tubbs. CS: Hamm, Peyton. LOB: 7.

Pitching     IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

Long         8.0     3     1     0       1     10

Kelsey      0.0     0     0     0       0       0

Tubbs (L) 1.2     2     1     1       0       2

Totals    9.2     5     2     1     1    12

     HBP: Long 3, Kelsey. Wild Pitch: Tubbs.

The Lakeside School

       AB    R    H    RBI

Welsh, ss       4      0      1      0

James, p/1b  4      0      0      0

Beasley, 2b   5      1      1      0

Gover, 1b/p  4      1      1      0

Leroy, c          5      0      1      0

Reeves, 3b    5      0      1      0

Richardson, lf 3    0      0      0

Wachs, dh     2      0      0      0

Newton, rf    3      0      0      0

Seaborn, cf   0     0      0      0

Totals          35      2      5      0

     HBP: Newton, Richardson, Wachs, Welsh. SAC: Gover, James. LOB: 10.

Totals    35           2              5              0

Pitching        IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

James          9.0    5     1     1       4      9

Gover (W)  1.0    0     0     0       0      1

Totals          10.0    5     1     1     4    10

     Wild Pitch: James 2.

Score by innings

                                                                           R H E

Autauga Academy  001  000  000  0 – 1  5  3

Lakeside School       000  100  000  1 – 2  5  2

* * *

GAME 2

May 7, 2019

AISA AA State Championship

at Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery

The Lakeside School

       AB    R    H    RBI

Welsh, ss       3      2      2      0

James, 1b      3      1      1      1

Beasley, 2b   3      1      0      0

Gover, p        3      0      1      1

Leroy, c         3      0      1      0

Reeves, 3b    4      1      2      0

Richardson, lf 3    1      2      1

Wachs, dh     3      1      1      2

Newton, rf    3      0      0      0

Walker, pr     0      1      0     0

Seaborn, cf   0      0      0      0

Totals          28      8    10      5

     SAC: Leroy. SF: James. HBP: Beasley, Gover, Welsh. SB: Gover. LOB – 4.

Pitching        IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

Gover (W)  7.0    8     0     0       1      4

Totals         7.0    8     0     0       1      4

     HBP: Gover 2.

Autauga Academy

                AB    R      H  RBI

Gates      4      0      1      0

Tubbs      4      0      3      0

Parker     3      0      1      0

Kelsey     3      0      0      0

Long        3      0      1      0

Camp      2      0      0      0

Wallace                  3      0      1      0

Tate         2      0      1      0

Hamm     0      0      0      0

Carr          3      0      0      0

Totals    27      0      8      0

     HBP: Parker, Camp. 2B: Long. 3B: Tubbs, Parker. CS: Hamm, Peyton. LOB: 9.

Pitching     IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

Long         8.0     3     1     0       1     10

Kelsey      0.0     0     0     0       0       0

Tubbs (L) 1.2     2     1     1       0       2

Totals    9.2     5     2     1     1    12

     HBP: Tubbs, Meyers 2.

Score by innings

                                                                R  H  E

Lakeside School     000  041  3 – 8 10  0

Autauga Academy 000 000  0 – 0    8  1

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