Baseball season began this past week with Lakeside and Evans getting a few unexpected curve balls.
At Lakeside, the Panthers' home opener was scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon game, but recent showers forced a postponement.
"Our field was a mess. We've always had drainage problems," Lakeside baseball coach Jay Matthews said. "If a fly ball dropped in the outfield it would have been sunk."
Evans High School had a baseball field in ideal condition for their Monday season opener, but four key Knights never stepped foot on it.
An off-the-field incident forced Evans baseball coach Ricky Beale to bench four of his players. "It was for breaking team policy, and we'll leave it at that," Beale responded when asked why the players were benched.
The action thrust several underclassmen into the spotlight. "They're giving us all they've got," Beale said of his young players. "We know we're going to have some growing pains, but that's OK."
Any growing pains appeared to hurt Burke County more than Evans. The Knight underclassmen led the home team to a 6-3 win to start the season. Evans sophomore Rob Williams got the start on the mound and gave up three runs in five innings of work. Senior Matt Fleenor closed the game with two innings of one-hit ball.
On offense, sophomore Jeff Rice and juniors Ted Leverett and Brad Dominy, all starting for the first time in a varsity game, combined to hit 4-for-9 with two RBI.
"We all felt like we had to step up," Leverett said. "We lost three important batters there, but it gave the underclassmen an opportunity to show what they could do."
The suspended Knights returned to the lineup on Wednesday to lead Evans to a 4-1 win over Cross Creek on the road.
In that game, senior Kyle Golden threw five scoreless innings to pick up his first win on the season while the Evans offense totalled four runs on 10 hits.
The Knights will travel to Westside on Monday for a 5 p.m. game.
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