GAINESVILLE -- Lakeview Academy out-hit Pinecrest Academy, while Dakota Chalmers struck out 11 Pinecrest batters and allowed just four hits.
Mistakes in the field can doom even the best of efforts, however, and errors certainly proved costly for the Lions on Monday, as Pinecrest posted a 6-5 comeback win in Gainesville.
Lakeview suffered six errors during the day, and the miscues -- combined with 13 runners left on base -- proved too much to overcome.
"Your defense has to be consistent, and today defense was our nemesis," Lions coach Deuce Roark said. "We also left a lot of runners on base, and those things don't combine to produce much success."
Lakeview battled throughout and so nearly found a route to victory, taking a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second and knotting the game at 4-4 in the fourth. But the Lions (1-4, 0-1 Region 8-A) couldn't land the killer blow in the seventh, despite putting two runners on base with two outs on the board.
"We're still young experience-wise," Roark said. "We have a lot of guys in starting roles for the first time, and it's a grind learning to play every day. We've still got some kids getting used to that, and it's a learning experience."
Dakota Chalmers looked every inch the experienced vet on the mound, as the junior allowed four walks and scattered four hits, while overpowering the Paladins at the plate on occasion, compiling all but two of Pinecrest's 13 strikeouts on the day. Alex Martin also tossed one inning of scoreless relief, fanning two Paladins batters.
"(Dakota) fought through a lot of adversity that can cause some guys to lose focus, but he didn't," Roark said. "He wanted the ball even when his pitch count got high, and I trusted him."
Pinecrest, meanwhile, ran through four different pitchers, none of them working more than 2 1/3 innings. Yet despite doling out nine walks to Lakeview batters, the Paladins came up with key plays in the field, as the Lions left two or more runners on base in four different innings.
Connor Ettmueller played perhaps the biggest role of the four, entering the game in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded. And while the Pinecrest pitcher did allow two RBI -- one each from David Fadool and Martin -- he managed to keep the Lions from pulling away and kept the hosts off the board in the third inning.
Pinecrest pulled ahead 4-3 in the top of the fourth. Yet the Lions charged right back knotting the score at 4-4 in bottom half, as Lewis Brooks drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk from Ettmueller -- the Pinecrest pitcher's last batter faced on the day. Garrett Kliphouse then took his turn on the mound and induced a double-play ball to minimize the damage.
Pinecrest shortstop Anthony Carlo provided the biggest hit of the contest, drilling a two-run triple in the top of the sixth that put the visitors ahead for good at 6-4.
Christopher Ball drove in Patrick Avery in the bottom of the sixth to inch the Lions within a run, and Lakeview gave the Paladins a scare in the seventh, as Chalmers doubled and Mitchell McIntire was bit by a pitch to put two on with two outs. But the Lions could not capitalize on the opportunity, as Carlo -- the Paladins final pitcher of the day -- picked up a strikeout to close out the contest.
"We're just not very consistent right now," Roark said, noting that the harsh winter weather helped contribute to that factor. "We just have't had enough repetition, but we're learning."
Fadool helped lead Lakeview at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double, while Martin also had two hits and an RBI. Avery Smith also went 2-for-3 with a double, and Ball also doubled as Lakeview put up nine total hits.
The Lions will play host to Lumpkin County on Wednesday in Gainesville.