Kevin Millward's timing couldn't have been better.
Entering Tuesday's home game against Harlem, the junior had yet to hit a home run this season.
"I've been hitting the ball on the nose, but it's been right at someone," he said.
Millward finally broke through with his first home run of the season in the third inning against Harlem. The shot landed well beyond the left-center field fence and came with two runners on base. Evans took a 3-1 lead and went on to score two more runs that inning.
A pair of RBI singles from Jeff Rice and Kevin Caughman in the fifth inning added to the Evans offense as the Knights won 8-1 over Harlem.
The extra offense was a welcome relief for Evans baseball coach Ricky Beale.
"There's still room for improvement, but it's good to see we're doing a better job of swinging the bats," he said.
Millward didn't stop at the big home run. The junior pitcher threw a complete-game five-hitter to earn his first win of the year. Millward forced 13 Harlem batters to fly out as the Bulldogs took their first loss.
"I knew we pulled off a major upset when we beat them last week," said Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis, recalling an 8-7 extra-inning win over Evans on March 6. "This one takes a lot of the pressure off. We can't live on being 5-0. We're 5-1 now, and we've got some work to do."
Region play will begin this week for both teams. Evans will face Statesboro on the road Tuesday in its first Region 3N-AAAA game while Harlem will play host to Glenn Hills in a Region 3N-AAA game, also Tuesday.
Lewis said this week is when the real season begins.
"We're 5-1, but these are all just preparation games for the subregion," he said. "I'm tickled to death to split with Evans, but it's the subregion that really matters."
Evans, with a 7-2 record entering Thursday's home game against Cross Creek, boasts the best nonregion record in Region 3N-AAAA.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.