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Lake City High School

Lake City battling through early adversity

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Lake City—It didn’t take long for adversity to find the Lake City baseball program. The Panthers are 4-4 and have struggled in consecutive region losses to Dillon and Cheraw, respectively.

“We knew going in it was going to be a dog fight of a region,” said head coach Matt Apicella. “We knew it was top to bottom one of the best in the Lower state. The competition has been stiff, but we haven’t risen to the challenge. If the pitching’s been on, we haven’t hit. If we’re hitting, then the defense lets us down. The past couple of games we haven’t pitched well and put ourselves in a hole. Right now, we’re snake bit. We’ve got to figure it out. Guys have to step up and get it done.”

The Panthers have a chance to get back in the win column with a busy upcoming schedule that features games at South Florence and Marion before a return home to face Aynor.

“Baseball can turn on a dime. You can go from hot to cold and cold to hot in a heartbeat. I told the guys that I’m not concerned about the scoreboard, I’m concerned about their fight. They’ve showed some fight. They’re working hard and giving me everything they’ve got. We’ve got to find the nine that are going to be most consistent and give us the best chance to win,” Apicella said.

There have been some bright spots for Lake City, including the play of catcher Hilshon Bailey, who has been solid behind the plate while hitting .500 and leading the team in runs batted in. Bryce McIntosh, Shamontae Burgess and E.J. McClam are others who have played well.

“Those guys are giving us a chance, but we’ve got to fill in around them,” said Apicella.

In other news, Apicella was recently named the Class AAA Athletic Director of the Year, an honor that he attributes to the people around him.

“It’s humbling. It’s never a personal award. It’s all about what these kids do. They’re always up for anything we ask, in terms of behavior and community service. They put a great light on Lake City. My name might be on the award, but it’s a Lake City High School award,” said Apicella.

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