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Anderson leads Knights to second-place finish

Posted: April 7, 2015 - 11:21pm
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Evans' Kyle Anderson pitches for the win. Anderson's work put the Knights at No. 2 for the region tournament.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Evans' Kyle Anderson pitches for the win. Anderson's work put the Knights at No. 2 for the region tournament.

With second place in Region 2A-AAAAA on the line, Evans coach Ricky Beale went to his ace in the hole Friday night.

It was a hand well-played.

In just his second start of the year, senior left-hander and South Carolina signee Kyle Anderson held the Grovetown Warriors to an unearned run while
striking out 11 batters in an assortment of ways, helping the Knights to a 4-1 win Friday night.

So, when the region tournament begins April 16, the Knights (13-6, 3-3 region) will be the No. 2 seed with a home game while the Warriors (9-10, 2-4) will be a No. 3 seed and on the road.

“Being at home is huge,” Beale said. “Just knowing you worry about getting a bus, you don’t have to worry about hotels, any of that stuff, the kids get to eat at home, stay in their own bed, stay in school. Getting that home series is big all the way around.”

Warriors’ coach Mike Jones said the team’s goal of getting to the state playoffs is still in front of them and noted the historic nature of their third-place finish in the sub-region.

“All in all, we’ve done a really good job this year,” Jones said. “We’ve been the No. 4 the last umpteen years and now we’re the No. 3, that’s something different.”

Beale was happy Anderson was available.

“It’s nice to have Kyle out there with what he’s done for us over the years,” Beale said. “It’s definitely a great opportunity for him and great to be able to throw him out there.”

Anderson (2-0) responded by striking out at least one batter every inning.

“After I faced them once through I kind of had an idea about each batter and their approach at the plate, I saw where they set up and I used that to my advantage,” Anderson said. “I utilized what I know of the game. I go at each batter and throw my best pitch.”

In the second after allowing a leadoff double and single to Kevin Odum and Trey Gomillion, respectively, Anderson went to work.
He froze Joe Cornett on a
third-strike curveball, caught Kyle James looking and Jeremiah Moss went down swinging.

“That was a big momentum shift right there,” Beale said.

Jones threw lefty Hayden Harris and while he stranded eight Knights in three innings of work, he was hurt by his own wildness, walking six.

He allowed consecutive singles to start the second, struck out the next two but hit Elliott Melton to load the bases and walked Connor Murray to force in the game’s first run.

Anderson doubled and Colin Dominy singled to start the third and Austin Shead plated Anderson with a sac fly. One out later, Daniel Lee came through with a single to score Dominy as the Knights went up 3-0 and they added the final run on an error in the fourth.

The Knights turned a double play behind Anderson in the fourth and he struck out two on a pitch in the dirt and high heat, respectively, in the fifth. After the Warriors rallied with two, two-out singles in the top of the seventh, Anderson ended the game with his last strikeout of the night.

“We knew coming in with what was at stake we were going to get their best,” said Jones. “The bottom line was when we needed to make a play we didn’t make a play and when they got opportunities they made them.”

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