-- It had to be a little surprising for Lewisville left-hander Evan Sisk to get a visit on the mound from one of his coaches.
You see, Sisk had just recorded one of many strikeouts, and held a seven-run lead with just one out remaining. That visit had special meaning, though. Lions assistant Will Robbins came to relay the news that Sisk had just passed him on the all-time strikeout list at Lewisville.
Sisk smiled when asked about Robbins’ congratulatory visit. “It was just a sign of respect, I guess,” said Sisk.
That news was the icing on the cake for the Lions, who came out swinging after a tough loss in the evening’s first game. Lewisville scored three runs in the first and tacked on three additional tallies in the second, putting away McBee 9-2 to win the Upper State championship at the Lions Den on Friday night.
“I wish we would have won the first game, just so Evan could have pitched Monday (in the state championship series),” said Lewisville coach Billy Keels. “It was exactly how I planned if we had lost that (first) game.”
Keels struggled a bit to remember what he said to his team between games, but pieced together a few details. “I just told them that I loved them and that game was just the game to get to the Upper State championship game, because they (McBee) had already lost one.”
If there was any panic following the first game, it quickly disappeared.
Lewisville’s Trey Keels got the game’s first hit and scored its first run. A Denver Mosley grounder that would have appeared a likely candidate was not cleanly fielded, allowing the inning to continue. The Lions compiled three more knocks while scoring three times in the second. Additional runs in the third and fourth essentially closed the door on the contest.
McBee ace Harrison Hawkins had three innings remaining after throwing a complete game in game one, but the damage had been done for the Panthers long before he was able to enter in the fourth.
“He’s a great pitcher,” said Sisk of Hawkins. “You’ve got to give him respect, because he’s beat us twice this year.”
The Lions’ ace was the story in this one, however.
Sisk threw a complete game of his own in the nightcap, despite a couple of minor speed bumps in the fifth and sixth. Cody Montgomery made a tremendous diving stop of a shot over the first base bag by Alex Miller, then beat Miller in a race to the base to close the fifth, leaving a Panther runner on base. Justin Barfield doubled in the sixth, scoring on a Chase Holley single accompanied by a Lion error that moved Holley to third. Holley scored on a Gunner Rhoad hit, but Sisk recorded a strikeout to snuff out the McBee rally.
Sisk went out in style, fanning the side in the seventh. The third strikeout was of Miller, prompting a huge celebration and dogpile in the center of the field.
“All these people here, they get up on their feet, and you just get adrenaline. You can do anything,” said Sisk.
The Lions advance to the Class A state championship series, where they will face Latta. Latta defeated Hannah-Pamplico twice on Friday night, earning the trip to the championship. Lewisville will play at Latta on Monday to open the best-of-three series. No game time has been announced.
WP- Evan Sisk; LP- Adam Cohick.
Leading hitters: Lewisville- Sisk 3-3, 2 runs, RBI; Denver Mosley 2-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Cody Montgomery 1-3, 2 runs, RBI. McBee- Chase Holley 2-3, run; Justin Barfield 1-3, run..
Records: McBee 12-6; Lewisville 20-8.
Lions drop first game Friday night
Close games seem to be the norm for Region 3-A foes McBee and Lewisville this season. The first game of the Upper State championship was no exception.
The homestanding Lions mounted a number of rallies, including one in the seventh, but were unable to capitalize. McBee defeated Lewisville 2-1, forcing a final, decisive game for the Upper State crown.
McBee righthander Harrison Hawkins and Lewisville lefty Drew Colvin were locked in a pitchers duel throughout Friday night’s first contest, with both hurlers employing a bend-but-don’t-break mindset.
The visitors broke through in the opening stanza, as Justin Barfield singled, then advanced to second on a passed ball. Third baseman Adam Cohick scored Barfield with a sharp single to left, giving his club a 1-0 advantage.
That lead held until the third, when Lewisville equalized. Drew Stewart was hit by a pitch, and following two groundouts, center fielder Evan Sisk poked a base hit into left, scoring Stewart.
McBee tried to answer in the next frame. Chase Holley reached on an error and Thomas Horton collected a base hit, but both runners were left on base when Brad Wilkerson popped out to second base.
Lewisville left its share of runners through the middle innings, as well. The Lions loaded the bases in the fourth with one out on a Tate Stevens single, Denver Mosley reaching on an error and Stewart drawing a walk. That inning came to an abrupt end, though, as Thomas Brannen tapped a ball back to the mound which started a 1-2-3 double play and stranded the Lion runners.
Lewisville placed two runners on base in each of the next two innings, leaving those runners stranded on a strikeout and double play, respectfully. Lewisville left 12 men on base in the contest.
The final inning provided quite a few fireworks for the home club.
Keels reached first on a single, then advanced to third on a low pickoff attempt from Hawkins that trickled down the first base line. Sisk then tapped a grounder to third that drew a wide throw, along with an initial safe call.
Following an argument by McBee, the umpires convened and reversed the call.
A Cody Montgomery grounder to second followed, with Keels being tagged out at the plate in a rundown that also drew protests from the home crowd and Lion coach Billy Keels. After the brief argument subsided, Alex Reed grounded a 1-1 pitch to second base, with McBee’s players celebrating the final out.
McBee 2, Lewisville 1
WP- Harrison Hawkins; LP- Drew Colvin.
Leading hitters: McBee- Harrison Hawkins 2-4, run; Justin Barfield 1-2, RBI; Adam Cohick 1-2, 2 RBI. Lewisville- Trey Keels 2-4; Evan Sisk 2-4, RBI; Cody Montgomery 1-2; Drew Stewart 1-1, run.