LILBURN - It might be early March with the playoffs still more than two months away, but this was a big win for the Parkview baseball team.
Behind the pitching combination of Gator Parker and Tristan Farrell, the Panthers shut down the nationally ranked Lassiter Trojans 6-1 on Monday at Parkview.
It didn't exactly make up for last year, when Lassiter ousted the Panthers from the semifinals of the state playoffs in an epic three-game series, but it sure felt good.
"I don't want to call it revenge," Parkview head coach Chan Brown said. "But it was important to win this game tonight.
"This was an important win for our program."
Said Farrell, "This is something we've been looking forward to since the preseason. Hopefully this game will make a statement."
Farrell certainly did on Monday night.
Coming on in relief of Parker, who went 31⁄3 innings and allowed one run on four hits, the senior completely shut down the loaded Lassiter lineup the rest of the way.
He allowed no runs on no hits, struck out five and walked just one.
"When he's throwing the ball well and hitting his spots, he's a tough pitcher to hit," Brown said.
The Panthers (2-0) were leading 5-1 with two on and one out in the fourth inning when Farrell came in.
He immediately picked Adam Baker off first base. He then got starting pitcher Matt Kallaoun to ground out to end the inning.
From there, Farrell was dominant.
"I was really thinking about last year," said Farrell, who gave up two home runs in the Game 3 loss to Lassiter. "I wanted to pitch well."
He certainly did that, completely silencing the bats of a team that is ranked No. 19 in the nation by Baseball America and just beat the defending national champions (Russell County, Ala.) over the weekend.
Farrell's only real trouble came in the fifth when an error and a walk put runners on first and second with one out. But the senior came back to strike out Alabama signee Brandon May and Georgia signee Robbie O'Brien to end the threat.
He retired the next six Trojans (1-2) in order to finish out the 6-1 win.
Five of the six Panthers' runs were unearned as Lassiter committed an uncharacteristic four errors in the game.
Parkview scored its first run of the game when Scott Steele's groundout drove in Craig Brisson, who reached on an error.
In the bottom of the third the Panthers scored four more times on just one hit.
Brisson walked to lead off the frame, advanced to second on a dropped pop-up by second baseman Garrett May, advanced to third on a single by Steve Esmonde and then scored on a throwing error by the pitcher, Kallaoun.
A walk to Parker scored another run and another error by May allowed two more runners to score and gave the Panthers a 5-0 lead.
Parkview then scored its final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth on Esmonde's infield single.
"I felt like both teams played pretty sloppy," Brown said. "But we were able to take advantage of their mistakes, and that's what you've got to do. You've got to capitalize when you have the opportunity."