The Greenbrier High School baseball team turned the Brierpatch into Boot Hill during a season-opening game Wednesday against the visiting Evans High School squad.
The Wolfpack dug their own grave by committing six errors, including three miscues which fueled a five-run uprising by Evans in the top of the second inning. The Knights eventually administered last rights with an 8-2 victory.
"We can't do that and expect to win against a good ballclub," Greenbrier coach Ed Williams said of the defensive problems.
Conversely, the Knights were solid in the field. First baseman Brendan Thomas set the tone with a diving catch in the bottom of the first. From there, Evans made the routine plays and had just one harmless error.
Evans also was selective at the plate, as the Knights readily hit to the opposite field.
Thomas went 2 for 3, five other Knights hit safely, and every Evans player reached base at least once. John Wehr and Fernando Mickens each laced an RBI double in the decisive second.
"We had clutch hits and we put the ball in play," Evans coach Ricky Beale said after earning his first win with the Knights.
Wednesday marked the high school coaching debut for Beale, but his handiwork as the team's pitching coach the past three seasons was evidenced by the performance of senior starter Justin Walker.
Walker did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, and gave up just three hits to earn a complete-game victory. He mixed his curve, fastball and change up to stay ahead in the count, and never came close to walking a batter.
"We owe a lot of our success tonight to the way he pitched," Beale said. "He was around the plate and did a heck of a job."
With the victory, Evans earned its third straight win over Greenbrier. The Knights now hold a 4-3 edge in the all-time series with the Pack.
Greenbrier's defensive breakdowns saddled Pack starter Nick Wandless with the loss, but other than a few fat offerings in the second inning, the senior right-hander appeared comfortable in his inaugural stint on the mound. He struck out six and allowed seven hits.
"I was real pleased with Nick, considering it was the first time he has ever really thrown as a starting pitcher," Greenbrier coach Ed Williams said. "He's just got to learn how to pitch, and he's going to do that with each ball game."
While Williams was shocked by his squad's shoddy fielding, he found solace that the 2002 season was just getting started.
"The bad part about it is we lost the game," he said. "The good part is we've got plenty of time to get better. And we're going to work at it, I can promise you that."
Greenbrier opens its Region 3-AAAA schedule with a 4 p.m. game Monday at Butler High School. Evans will play host to Westside High School in a non-region contest Monday at 5 p.m.
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