Evans coach Ricky Beale walked out to shake hands at home plate with Chris Wilkins and later with T.J. Davis as summer baseball kicked off Thursday.
It was his first experience coaching against their teams, but he knew them well.
Davis was named Lakeside's head baseball coach on Memorial Day, and Wilkins, the former Richmond Academy coach, replaced Rodney Holder at Greenbrier.
"New in the uniform they're in," Beale said. "Not new faces."
Beale chatted up his counterparts between innings and during the games. Greenbrier's varsity summer squad beat Evans 3-1 in the first game. "Evans 1" then lost to Davis' "Lakeside 1" team 11-1.
With just one summer game under their belts, Columbia County's newest coaches declared it too early to tell how their teams would shape up next season. But both appeared glad to be there.
Davis already knew most of his players well, having spent the past two seasons as a Lakeside assistant. But the last time Wilkins saw Greenbrier up close was when the Wolfpack swept his Musketeers team by a combined 22 runs last season.
"That's the first time I've seen those guys play," Wilkins said. "It's a different look."
Fresh faces dotted all three teams.
Greenbrier junior Blake Ross started against Evans and pitched a complete game. Evans junior Matt Blume, who made an appearance against Lee County during the Class AAAA state playoffs, started strong and allowed only one run.
Wilkins said he was impressed with how Ross located his fastball, and he praised Blume, though he could not identify him without a lineup card.
The Panthers brought their bats to open the summer against Evans, scoring five third-inning runs on their way to a mercy rule-shortened win.
Davis received mock congratulations on his first career "win" after the game and said he was pleased with how his team played. Before Thursday, Davis' only interaction as head coach had been a practice to review bunt coverages and plays to first and third base.
"We looked good," Davis said. "Hopefully, it will continue. It's early."
Beale shared similar thoughts. His Knights lost senior ace Kevin Millward, pitcher Teddy Leverett and catcher Brandon Dominy to graduation. Second baseman Jeff Rice had a second reconstructive surgery on his knee, and his availability probably will not be known until early 2009.
Beale said his team was a little down after the loss to Lakeside but that there's still a long way to go.
He said he will use the summer games to audition arms to fill the holes left in the Knights' rotation.
"We'll toy with it every weekend," Beale said. "We've got 12 guys we'll throw."
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