Originally created 05/16/02

Evans picks off Groves



Evans played the old cliche about pitching and defense to perfection Wednesday afternoon.

Justin Walker and John Wehr combined to allow nine hits and one run in 14 innings as the Knights swept past Groves with 6-1, 9-0 wins in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

Evans (23-6) will play at the winner of McEachern-Lassiter in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals Monday in a doubleheader. Game 3, if necessary, will be held Tuesday.

"That's really been our strong point all year, our pitching and our defense," Walker said. "Our hitting's starting to come around. If we continue to hit the ball and play defense and our pitching stays like it is, we have a chance to go a long way."

Evans pounded out 17 hits in the doubleheader. But it was a pair of spectacular defensive plays by second baseman Jon Lee which kept the Rebels from twice tying the game.

Trailing 2-1 in the top of the fourth with two outs, Groves made its first base-running blunder. Preston McGann got caught in a rundown between first and second. At the same time, Edgar Rodriguez began wandering off third base and sneaked toward home plate.

An alert Lee threw a strike to catcher Mike Armstrong who applied the inning-ending tag.

"I don't know what the (Groves) coach (Kevin Brown) was thinking," Lee said. "We practice those plays all the time."

Walker struck out seven of the first nine Rebels and ended the game with nine strikeouts. He allowed four hits and one run in seven innings.

In Game 2, Groves committed four costly errors which led to six unearned runs by Evans. An error in the top of the first led to the Knights' first run.

In the bottom of the first, the Rebels threatened. Rodriguez hit a bloop single moving Timmy Sherrod to third. Rodriguez got caught in a rundown and Sherrod took off for home. Again, Lee threw a bullet to Armstrong who tagged Sherrod out at the plate.

From there, Wehr took over. The Evans right-hander scattered five hits in seven innings and got McGann to ground into a huge inning-ending double play in the fourth.

Evans led 2-0 after a Walker homer in the fourth. After scoring another run in the fifth, the Knights pulled the curtain on Groves with a six-run sixth inning.