It's hard to find a high school student who doesn't like spring break. Then again, it's hard to find a baseball coach who does.
Right in the middle of a busy and competitive baseball season, local teams are hit with a week-long spring break. It's a huge void of time when anything could happen to a team.
For the Evans Knights, the break couldn't have come at a better time.
The Knights limped into spring break. Losses at home to Lakeside and on the road at Greenbrier the week before the break meant Evans spent their time off with a 1-3 subregion record and ranked fourth in the five-team subregion standings.
"It was real tough. We lost to two county rivals, and we had them on the ropes," Evans catcher Brandon Dominy said.
Evans practiced heavily toward the end of their spring break, but Monday's subregion game against Statesboro was the first live action in 10 days. The extended break appeared to pay off, as the Knights put themselves back in contention with a 6-2 win over Statesboro.
"We were down, and everybody on the team knew if we didn't win this one we were out of things," Evans senior Kyle Golden said.
Golden carried the Knights at the plate (3-for-4 with 2 RBI) and on the mound (complete game five-hitter with six strikeouts). Evans, coupled with a Statesboro loss to Greenbrier on Wednesday, took sole possession of third place in the subregion standings entering Friday's game against Richmond Academy.
Unlike Evans, Lakeside's baseball team entered spring break on a high note. The Panthers knocked off Evans on the road and Statesboro at home in their two games leading up to the break, and entered the week sitting in second place in the subregion standings.
The big question for Panther baseball coach Jay Matthews during spring break was whether or not his team would carry that momentum through a 12-day layoff.
"You never know. It's hit or miss," Matthews said. "Last year we took the whole week off and our best hitting game all year came in our first game back from spring break. We had 18 hits against Effingham."
The return to action after this year's break wasn't even close to that kind of production, but Lakeside managed to survive a near-upset with a 5-4 extra-inning win at Richmond Academy. The Panthers led two different times in the game, but the home Musketeers rallied to tie the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning and 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh.
Fortunately for the Panthers, junior Chris Burns came through with the game-winning hit on a double in the top of the eighth inning to score sophomore Tanner Hall.
The run made the difference in the game and kept Lakeside in sole possession of second place in the subregion standings entering Friday's game at Greenbrier.
Greenbrier steps up
Also facing a week off from school, the Greenbrier Wolfpack were the only local baseball team in action over spring break. Greenbrier traveled to the University of Georgia and came away with a 3-1 win over Marist on Monday, April 2.
The Wolfpack came out of the break in midseason form with wins over Richmond Academy on Monday and Statesboro on Wednesday. Greenbrier entered Friday's game against Lakeside undefeated in subregion play.
Harlem steps up
Harlem's baseball team took a huge step toward winning another subregion title on Tuesday with a 14-1 win over Cross Creek. The Region 3N-AAA victory put the Bulldogs a full two games ahead of the rest of the subregion.
Harlem's Rodney Scruggs and Kyle Knight both homered in the win while pitcher Mike Sanders threw a complete-game four-hitter to improve to 3-0 on the season.
ACS splits two games
Facing region competition, the Augusta Christian baseball team split a pair of games in their first action since before spring break.
The Lions knocked off Orangeburg Prep 10-8 after senior Josh Whitaker went 2-for-3 with two home runs and six RBI. Augusta Christian fell to Heathwood Hall a day 5-4 despite a complete-game four-hitter from Lion pitcher Travis Cerasuolo.
Augusta Christian entered Thursday's game at Strom Thurmond with a 9-6 overall record.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.