By Ethan Smith, exclusive to the Times
The Lakeview Gators travelled to Alexandria Thursday, March 21 to play Grace Christian in a varsity baseball game. Grace Christian has been one of the better teams in the state in recent years. They were runners-up this past year in their division playoffs. It was safe to say the Gators had a challenge in front of them. With a very little expected chance to win, Head Coach Daniel Gannon figured it would be nice to let a young pitcher get his reps in and save his starting pitcher for the next day’s doubleheader against Ebarb. So, Gannon put eighth grader #22 Isaac Coleman on the mound.
To everyone’s surprise, Coleman was up to the test. Coleman didn’t allow a run until the third inning. He forced the batters into ground balls and pop-ups. The eighth grader was pitching like a seasoned veteran. The Gator’s gave their pitcher his run support as well, scoring four runs in the first four innings. None of this was expected by either team. The Gators looked like they were going to be beat Grace Christian. Sadly, not every story has a happy ending.
Lakeview wasn’t able to get another run to the plate after those four. That definitely didn’t help chances. Then, Coleman’s outstanding outing finally came to an end.
Bottom of the sixth, Coleman loaded the bases with no outs, and Gannon decided to pull him off the mound. Coleman received a standing ovation by everyone in the ballpark. It was certainly something to see. After Coleman, Gannon put shortstop #15 Jakeb Baldridge in relief, with hopes to get out of the weeds. There wasn’t much luck there, due to the fact Baldridge hit back-to-back batters, tying the game 4-4.
After the tie, Gannon swapped the pitcher and catcher, putting #7 Brylee Lester on the mound. After balking, and allowing a hit, Lester finally got the Gators out of the inning, but down 4-6. In the top of the seventh, the Gators never got the bat moving and ended the game 4-6. This was not a game to be ashamed of for Lakeview at all. They made one of the best teams in the state work for their win with an eighth grader on the mound.
Coleman took the loss, even with his valiant effort. Coleman went five innings, allowing four runs on two hits and striking out two. Right fielder #13 Jaylan Triplet-Bell went 2-3 at the plate, leading the Gators in hits. This will be a huge confidence booster for the rest of the season.