Leopards advance to play powerhouse Whiteville Wolfpack

By: By Daron Barefoot - Sports Editor

Lakewood’s baseball team traveled to Camden County in the first round the NCHSAA 1A State Baseball playoffs. The long bus ride didn’t affect the Leopards as Lakewood came away with the 4-2 victory, giving them a berth in the second round.

A single by Chandler Ray gave the Leopards a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. That scored remained until the Bruins chipped into it, scoring one run in the bottom of the second to make it 2-1. After a couple of scoreless innings, Camden County was right back in the mix as the Bruins were able to score another run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game up at 2-2.

“We had opportunities throughout the game but just couldn’t capitalize,” remarked Lakewood head coach Jay Faircloth, reflecting back as the Leopards lead was erased and the game was suddenly a real nail biter.

The Leopards, however, answered back. With the score still deadlocked at 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Lakewood scored two critical runs to reclaim the 4-2 lead. That lead held and would be the final score as the Leopards held the Bruins at bay in the bottom of the inning to seal the deal.

“Zach Tanner and Arron Butler did just what they always do — they were awesome,” Faircloth said. “They utilized the defense they had behind them. Our defense was definitely on point, and we hit the ball and produced when we needed to. One parent said it best: this was a complete team win. Everybody did their job.”

Butler came on in the bottom of the sixth inning, faced seven batters, giving up no hits, no walks and striking out one to win the game. He also drove in the go-ahead run in top of the seventh.

Leading the way at the plate, Zach Johnson contributed three hits for Lakewood. Chandler Ray and Dylan Fann each had two hits with Ray also recording two RBIs. Tristan Holmes, Logan Thomas and Tanner also each had one hit.

The Leopards were set for a road trip to Whiteville in round two on Saturday. The Wolfpack are 18-6 overall and were undefeated champions of the Three Rivers 1A/2A Conference.

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Editor

Reach Daron Barefoot at dbarefoot@civitasmedia.com.

Reach Daron Barefoot at dbarefoot@civitasmedia.com.