Before the baseball season began, most Evans followers said Hank McCladdie or Brad Freeman would be the Knights' ace.
Evans High School's Zack Baker is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
But the most consistent pitcher in 2005 has been Zack Baker.
The South Georgia College-bound senior has led the Knights in wins and ERA this year. He even has two saves.
More importantly, Baker (9-0) won Game 2 and 3 in both the Hardaway and Etowah series to help the Knights (23-9) into the Class AAAA state semifinals against No. 1 Lee County.
"He has been outstanding for us," said Knights coach Ricky Beale. "He has stepped up for us game after game."
Baker hit .320 last season for Evans as a second baseman and as a right fielder. He also was the Knights' third starting pitcher. Baker gave up a pair of home runs that gave Lassiter a lead and an eventual win in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
"That was a tough game," said Baker. "I started thinking about that game when I gave up the home run (against Etowah)."
Baker gave up the game-tying home run to Sean Dillard in the seventh inning of Game 3 against Etowah, but he recovered to outduel Eagles ace Nick DeSilvio over the game's final two innings.
"I don't know what he has done different," said senior Brad Freeman. "Maybe he hasn't done anything different. But he has stepped up his game as a senior and has become a leader by example. We have a lot of faith in him every time he takes the mound."
Baker said he hasn't changed anything over the offseason.
"I really didn't do anything different this season," said Baker. "I think I have just located my pitches well and have been helped by a great defense."
Hardly overpowering, Baker locates pitches well and has a good mix of off-speed pitches.
"Zack has always been an ace in my mind," said first baseman Ryan Pressley. "He has always had the stuff to make him a great pitcher. He has just been more effective this season."
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