Baseball has always been a game of statistics, and Columbia County has always been baseball crazy. So, I was thinking about some of the records or stats that will be tough to beat and have come up with five that I would put at the top of the list.
1. The Streak
During the late ’80s and early ’90s, Evans enjoyed an incredible run of success. The Knights captured five state championships during a seven-year span between 1988 and 1994. That will be hard to top, but the teams between 1988 and 1990 did something impossible to beat. Between a mid-season loss to Midland Valley in 1988 and a loss to Harlem in 1990, Evans reeled off 61 wins in a row.
At the time, the 61 was just seven wins shy of the all-time record of 68 wins held by Archbishop Malloy in New York. (Its record has since been broken – the new record is 75 consecutive wins by Homer in Michigan). This record would be almost impossible today since all the county schools face one another and baseball throughout the state is so good right now.
2. Terry Holder Goes 8 For 12
Terry Holder coached Evans during the streak, and he also had tremendous success at Greenbrier in the late ’90s. In all, Holder’s teams won state championships in 1988, ’89, ’90, ’93, ’94, ’97, ’98 and ’99. That’s eight state titles in 12 years. Harlem had incredible success in the ’70s and ’80s , but eight crowns in 12 years? Holder’s teams were able to pull it off.
3. Hawes’ Homers
Former Augusta Christian star B.J. Hawes had an incredible year in 1999. He hit over .600 and drove in more than 50 runs, but the big number that year was 18. That is how many homers the speedy Hawes piled up. That was one more than former Evans slugger Todd Greene, who hammered 17 long balls 10 years earlier in just 29 games.
It took Hawes more games, and it might have been versus weaker competition, but he hit 18 homers in a season, and that will likely never happen again. With the new aluminum bat restrictions of a couple of years ago, hitting double figures in homers in a season will be tough. Hitting 19 … I don’t see it happening.
In a high school baseball season, a great pitcher playing for a championship-caliber team may get 15-16 starts. More is possible, but highly unlikely. That is why the 15 wins posted by Mike Austin at Harlem and Nolan Belcher at Greenbrier are so impressive. Both also led their teams to state titles.
A few pitchers have come close to 15 wins – the Evans trio Joe Wise, Chuck Lee and Grady Blanchard all won 14 in a season. But some great pitchers, including Brandon Cumpton and Ashley Scoates, never reached 15. Scoates was as dominant as any pitcher during his junior year in 1988 but only managed 11 wins. Add in the tougher restrictions on pitch count and more knowledge about overworking young arms, and I would bet 15 wins will stand for quite some time.
5. The Nolan Belcher Wing
We were fortunate to witness arguably the best pitcher to ever toe a rubber in the Peach State. (If not the best, he certainly is the most accomplished.) Here are a few of Nolan Belcher’s marks that will stand for a while, if not forever.
Freshman Record: 10-0, and he only allowed one earned run all year.
Sophomore Record: 15-0 with 156 strikeouts in just 91 innings!
Career Strikeouts: 516 K’s – this record will never fall.
Career Wins: 47 (his record was 47-2) – this one will never fall, either.
Three crowns in first three seasons: Belcher and Rodney Holder (Evans, 1988-90) each pulled this off.
If you have a stat that you feel will stand for quite some time, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.