In a game that showcased the two best baseball teams in Columbia County, all eyes fell on a pair of sophomores Monday night at Greenbrier.
Evans 10th-grader Kevin Millward entered the game with a 6-0 record and took the mound for the Knights, who hoped to avenge an 11-1 loss to their rival earlier this season.
The other sophomore, Greenbrier's Nolan Belcher, also got the start at pitcher.
"That says a lot for those two guys," Evans coach Ricky Beale said. "We know what our guy can do. As far as Nolan Belcher, he's as good as advertised."
Belcher proved his worth once again Monday night with a complete-game performance in a 10-4 win over Evans.
The sophomore struck out 11 Knights in seven innings to improve his record to 6-0. His only mistakes came on a wild pitch to give Evans a 1-0 lead in the second inning and a high fastball in the seventh that Evans senior Shawn Ward sent over the center field fence.
"I gave up a bomb," Belcher said of the home run. "Shawn's a great hitter. There's no shame in giving one up to him."
Millward kept the Greenbrier bats at bay through two innings, but the Wolfpack exploded for seven runs on five hits in the third inning to break the game open. Five Greenbrier batters drove in at least one run in the inning to take a 7-1 lead.
"We've been fortunate throughout the year in that we haven't had to rely on one guy," Greenbrier coach Ed Williams said. "I felt like we were swinging the bats well even in the first inning."
Greenbrier's leadoff man and No. 2 hitter Jeff Rowland and Chris Johnson both went 2-for-4 on the night while second baseman Michael Hester drove in three RBI on a pair of doubles.
With the win, Greenbrier extended its mark to 17-0.
Also in the win column early last week, the Harlem Bulldogs continued their undefeated tear through Region 3-AAA play. Hephzibah was the latest victim as Harlem earned an 8-0 shutout to improve its region record to 5-0 on the season.
The Bulldogs' offense came from home runs by Eric Schnitzler and Evan Slagle while Steven Waters improved to 3-2 with a complete-game win.
Augusta Christian (12-2, 4-1) dropped its first region game of the year on Tuesday with a 9-6 loss to Hammond. The Lions led 4-0 after 3 innings but Hammond responded with nine runs over the next two innings for the victory. Augusta Christian catcher Taylor Hensley homered in the loss.
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