Knights claim key region win

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Evans baseball coach Ricky Beale gathered his team near first base at Gerald Barnes Field after the Knights delivered a reminder they were still in the hunt for one of the top two spots in Region 3-AAAA.

The Knights were laughing and joking as they huddled around Beale. He reminded them of the goal.

"Let's get a home series and go from there," Beale said.

The mood lightened again.

Beale knows his team needs a little help to play host to a Class AAAA series.

The home playoff series goes to the region's top two seeds. As of now, Evans is on the outside.

But the Knights' 13-5 win over Westside on Friday gave them reason to think they could be playing at home after the season ends.

Evans (14-6, 10-3) is fourth in the region standings, good enough for a playoff spot but a seed that would send them on the road.

The Knights need Harlem and Westside to lose at least once more to have a shot at the No. 2 seed.

"I remember going to Lee County last year," Evans pitcher Matt Blume said. "It would be nice staying home for once."

He could if he continues to get the run support he had Friday.

Center fielder Tevin Nelson hit Christian Bragg's second pitch over the center-field fence, and the Knights didn't stop hitting. Nelson reached base safely in his first four at-bats.

The top four hitters in the lineup combined for nine of the Knights' 13 hits. Corey Holloway launched a two-run home run from the No. 9 spot.

"We've been hitting pretty good the last couple games," Nelson said. "We took it to another level tonight."

Westside was handed its second region loss, with a game against Lakeside and two against Harlem remaining.

Coach Gerald Barnes' Patriots remains in the hunt for the region title, with Lakeside and Harlem still left to play, but Barnes wasn't pleased.

"They seemed like that they wanted it a little bit worse than we did," he said.

Evans has split series with the three teams ahead of it in the region standings. It has played all six games against the teams it is trying to catch.

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


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