Knowing the road ahead for his Evans High School baseball team, Knights coach Ricky Beale was pleased with its start in region play.
The Knights opened their Region 3-AAAA schedule by beating county rival Lakeside 5-3 at home.
"Any time you beat those guys in a region game, we'll take it," Beale said.
Evans snuffed Lakeside's shot at a sixth-inning comeback by throwing out two Panthers runners from the outfield.
The biggest came when Knights left fielder Glenn Cassedy cut down a potential run at the plate. Evans catcher Tyler Barden held on to the ball and Evans was out of a jam.
"I came up and threw it as hard as I can in," said Cassedy, who also plays quarterback for the football team. "I knew I couldn't one-hop it in there, it wouldn't make it in time."
Evans scored two in the first and two in the third. The Knights almost added two more in the fourth, but had to settle for one after Barden was ruled to have left early on a sacrifice fly.
The run wasn't needed, in part because of Cassedy and Barden's connection at the plate.
"I could see the runner at third base and I knew it was going to be close from there," Barden said. "I've been told all the way up playing catcher, be a brick wall. I just had to get it done."
Evans senior Zack Minter earned the save. Beale said he was pleased with the way Minter had performed in the role to that point.
"As long as it's working, we got to keep riding it," Beale said. "He's been doing a great job."
Harlem 6, Evans 2
Harlem senior Patrick Gamblin pitched his first complete game of the season as the Bulldogs took the first meeting.
Gamblin, who moved into the starting rotation after serving as the team's closer last season, struck out five and avoided the big inning.
Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said the performance was the type he was looking for when he gave Gamblin the starting role after using him in relief last season.
"We were hoping he could go seven (innings) this year, and he proved he could go seven," Lewis said.
Gamblin retired 12 of Evans first 13 batters. He mixed a high-80s fastball with a curve he worked on during the off-season.
The Knights tried to limit Gamblin's affect at the plate. After a third-inning double, Gamblin was intentionally walked his last two trips.
Gamblin's free pass in the fifth loaded the bases for Derek Clayton.
Clayton ripped a single up the middle to score two. Harlem junior Jay Aplin piled on with a two-run single two batters later.
"They just hit the ball with people on base," Beale said. "You got to tip your hat to them."
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