As a member of two state title baseball teams at Evans High School, and as a starter in 1991 when the squad stretched its state-record win streak to 61 games, Ricky Beale is accustomed to success.
Still, Beale learned an important lesson while playing for the Knights - you can't win them all.
Beale maintained that perspective during his first season as head baseball coach at Evans.
"It was a good year," he said last week after the Knights were knocked out of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
"Anytime you make it to the state quarterfinals and accomplish some of your goals, it's a good year."
Despite a satisfying debut as head coach, Beale admits he can't wait for his second go round.
"I wish we could start practice tomorrow," he said. "We'll continue working on sound, fundamental baseball. If you do the basics, then good things will come your way."
Evans finished the 2002 campaign with a 23-8 record. The Knights were swept in the best-of-three state quarterfinals by Lassiter, which eventually advanced to the state finals against Parkview this week.
The Knights were led by All-Region 4-AAAAA selections Jon Lee, Justin Walker, Fernando Mickens and Seth Newsome. John Wehr was an honorable mention all-region player.
"You really have to hand it to our pitchers, Justin, Seth, John and Ryan Page," Beale said. "It was kind of lost in the shuffle that Page threw a no-hitter against Harlem. They all came through."
Lee (second baseman), Walker (pitcher and multi-position player), Page (pitcher/third baseman), Mickens (center field), and Brendan Thomas (first baseman) were all seniors, but juniors Newsome (pitcher/third baseman) and Wehr (pitcher/outfielder) will return next year. Starting shortstop Travis Clark and catchers Mike Armstrong and Jacob Ladimorack also are back.
Evans moves from Region 4-AAAAA to Region 7 next season, which should give the Knights a good shot at claiming another region title. Evans placed third in Region 4 this season.
"Our junior varsity team had a real good season, and started a lot of freshmen," Beale said. "Those freshmen are going to have to step up and play as sophomores next year. We'll get in the weight room in the off-season, and the kids will work. They know what they've got to do. We'll be ready."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.