A young Evans team has earned a trip the program hasn’t taken in eight years.
The Lady Knights rode clutch bats and the effectiveness of Leah Powell to a doubleheader sweep of Coffee on Wednesday night, 4-1 and 11-1, in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs, advancing to the Elite Eight.
So did Greenbrier, which swept Lee County on the road in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs Wednesday night. The Lady Wolfpack beat the Lady Trojans 4-2 and 11-4. They are the third Columbia County team set to advance to Columbus.
Greenbrier improved to 18-9 in Garrett Black’s final season as head coach.
Evans (27-2) extended its win streak to 19 and has punched its ticket to Columbus for the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009. The first Elite Eight game will be Oct. 26 against an opponent to be determined by seeding.
“I don’t think they know what they’ve gotten themselves into yet,” Evans coach Ricky Beale said. “It’s a great feeling. It’s a great opportunity. They’re a great group of kids. We’re going to try to make the most of it.”
Evans stuck to the same formula Wednesday that produced its first region championship in eight years and one of the most successful regular seasons in school history. Powell worked out of early jams before settling in, and the bats backed her up when it was needed most.
The Lady Knights struck early when Powell lifted a two-run home run to center field in the first inning of Game 1. Still holding a two-run lead, Powell worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third with a strikeout to set the tone for the rest of the night.
Evans tacked on insurance runs in the fifth and sixth on a Morgan Johnson sacrifice fly RBI and Sydney Baker RBI double. Coffee (14-14) broke the shutout in the seventh on an error but never threatened Evans’ lead.
The bats broke out in Game 2 when Evans scored five in the first. Baker and Haley McCook each doubled home a run, Powell and Katy Cliatt singled home one each and Alex Shelnut picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice for a 5-0 lead.
Johnson and McCook each singled home a run in the fourth to extend the advantage to 7-0, and Evans added four in the seventh to break it open.
Johnson totaled five hits in Game 2, including a double and three RBI. Baker picked up two hits, including a double and RBI, and had four hits for the night.
Powell gave up two runs on seven hits over 14 total innings, including 15 strikeouts.
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class AAAAAA Playoffs
EVANS 4, COFFEE 1
Laykin Brown and Hollynn Lott. Leah Powell and Haley McCook.
2B: McCook (E), Sydney Baker (E). HR-Powell (E).
Leading hitters: Evans-Diamond Williams 2 hits, Baker 2 hits.
EVANS 11, COFFEE 1
Leah Powell and Haley McCook. Laykin Brown and Hollynn Lott.
2B: Sydney Baker (E), Powell (E), McCook (E). 3B: Morgan Johnson (E).
Leading hitters: Evans-Johnson 5 hits, Baker 2 hits, Powell 2 hits, McCook 2 hits, Katy Cliatt 2 hits.
Records: Coffee 14-14, Evans 27-2. Next: Evans vs. TBD, Class AAAAAA Elite Eight, Oct. 26 at Columbus.