Knights cool off Panthers

Teddy Leverett got the fastball he wanted, and Evans got the win it needed against what had been a red-hot Lakeside team.

The Evans pitcher belted a third-inning grand slam, and the Knights beat the Panthers 16-6 to lock up the No. 2 seed in Region 3N-AAAA.

Had Leverett missed the two-strike pitch, the inning would have ended with Lakeside facing a manageable, three-run deficit.

"I was waiting on it, hoping," Leverett said of Harrison Brawley's fastball. "If he didn't throw it, I was going to whiff."

The Knights knew they might face Brawley, whose past two starts were complete-game wins against Statesboro and Greenbrier. So Evans prepped during spring break with a steady diet of off-speed pitches, Brawley's specialty.

The result was a nine-run third inning that propelled the Knights to a season sweep of the Panthers.

"You don't see that a lot in high school baseball," Lakeside coach Jay Matthews said of the Knights' big inning.

Lakeside was playing for a chance at the region's No. 2 seed. Matthews said Brawley lacked the velocity he'd shown his previous two starts.

With the exception of Leverett's slam, though, the Knights were sitting on Brawley's off-speed pitches. Trailing 2-0 going into the third inning, they banged out seven singles before Leverett's big swing.

"(Brawley's) thrown some great ball games," Evans coach Ricky Beale said. "We just wanted to get it even and go from there."

The win earned Evans a home game in the first round of the region playoffs, which begin April 25.

Lakeside attempted to comeback with a fourth inning rally, tacking on four runs with the help of catcher Mike Gram's three-run homer.

But the Knights answered with four runs in the bottom half and closed out the mercy-rule shortened game with Leverett's RBI single in the fifth.

The Panthers -- coming off their first win against Greenbrier since 2005 -- could secure the region's No. 3 seed with a win Friday against Statesboro.

The Knights will close out their regular season Friday at Greenbrier, which already beat Evans, 8-1.

"It's always going to be a big game" Beale said. "Hopefully we can play better than we did last time."

Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165 ext. 116 or stephen.fastenau@augustachronicle.com.

More

Sat, 12/10/2016 - 01:32

Thoroughbreds year comes to halt