Opening night for the Evans' baseball team resembled a trip to the circus - complete with all three rings - as the Knights took on Hephzibah.
Evans' Shawn Ward slides safely into home plate after a wild pitch by Hephzibah's Mario Hutchinson in the fourth inning at Evans High School. Seniors on the team livened up the debut of freshman Kevin Millward with a prank. They picked the Barney theme song as the song to which he walked onto the field. He then hit an RBI double to start his career. The team agreed it was a good way to start the season.
Photo by Chris Thelen
In the first ring, Evans' first baseman Ryan Pressley was the attraction many in the stands came to see. Six Major League scouts were there to see the powerful 6-foot-5, 250-pound switch hitter and Middle Georgia signee.
Another ring featured ballyhooed freshman Kevin Millward in his prep baseball debut.
Outsiders who didn't know about the freshman might have been confused when Millward strolled to the plate with the Barney theme song playing.
"The seniors did that as a prank," Millward said. "That was the last thing I thought I'd hear as I walked to the plate. They got me good."
Millward responded by ripping a ball down the third base line for an RBI double.
But center stage was the Knights opening the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the state. Evans played the part, spanking the Rebels 12-2 in six innings.
"It was a good way to start the season off," said Evans coach Ricky Beale. "I saw some good things and I saw some bad things. We are going to have to get better, though."
The Evans offense was one of the high points.
Evans' Zack Baker delivers a pitch to a Hephzibah batter during their game at Evans High School. Evans opened its baseball season in style. The offense knocked in 12 runs in six innings. Six players also scored RBI.
Photo by Chris Thelen
Millward, Pressley, Hank McCladdie, Shawn Ward, Wes Baxter and Kyle Wilkerson all had RBI.
Wilkerson, the Knights' leadoff hitter, went 3-3 with a RBI and three runs scored.
"It was certainly a good way to start off the season," Wilkerson said. "We know we have all the tools to be a good team. We just have to make sure we keep getting better each game."
Evans seemed to handle the pressure of playing as the state's top team for the first time since the mid-1990s.
"It's not something we can worry about right now," Millward said. "It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't matter what the papers or the Internet says. We just have to worry about what we can do as a team. We'll worry about the rankings after the season is over."
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