Ricky Beale might not survive the playoff run of his Evans baseball team.
For the second straight series, Evans came from behind after trailing late in an elimination game to win.
The Knights (22-9) won Game 2 of the Class AAAA state quarterfinals best-of-three series with Etowah on Tuesday, 3-2, on an RBI single by Ken Raborn with runners on first and third and one out in the top of the seventh.
The Knights lost Game 1, 7-1, earlier Tuesday. Game 3 will start at 3 p.m. at Evans today.
"Boy, these games are crazy," Raborn said. "I like them if we can keep winning them."
Raborn came to the plate after Etowah (21-10) elected to intentionally walk Shawn Ward, the Knights' leading hitter. His single plated Pat Foster and broke open a 2-2 tie.
"You can't fault them for walking Ward," Beale said. "They are both great hitters and both can hurt you. So when Shawn was walked, I had a lot of confidence that Kenny would come through."
The winning run gave the Knights, who rallied with a five-run seventh in Game 3 to beat Hardaway in the second round, their first lead since the first inning of Game 1, a span of 12 innings.
"Offensively, we need to step it up," Beale said.
"We didn't give (Hank) McCladdie any run support in the first game and we just scratched through in Game 2."
Despite the cool bats, Zack Baker kept the Knights in Game 2. The South Georgia College-bound senior held Etowah scoreless after surrendering two runs in the first inning.
"I don't really know what he did to us," Etowah coach David Childress said.
"He was effective. We just couldn't hurt him."
The Knights stayed in the game thanks to three Eagles' errors in the sixth inning that allowed Evans to tie the game 2-2.
"We just made a bunch of lazy plays and gave the game away," Etowah pitcher Nick DeSilvio said, adding that the scouting report said Evans had a shaky defense and big hitters that had trouble hitting curveballs.
"But we know we can out hit them. We just have to come ready to play."
DeSilvio, a Georgia signee, shut down the Knights in Game 1, pitching a 105-pitch two hitter. Evans scored in the first but didn't get another hit for the rest of the game.
"(DeSilvio) was as good as advertised," Beale said. "He has a great future."
Evans will have to win its third straight Game 3 today to advance to its first state semifinals since 1994.
"We are starting to get used to these Game 3's," Baker said.
Reach Jonathan Heeter at 868-1222, ext. 116, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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