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.
Sisk had just recorded one of many strikeouts and held a seven-run lead with just one out remaining in the Upper State championship Friday against McBee. Lewisville led, 9-2.
That visit had special meaning. Lions assistant Will Robbins told Sisk he 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,” he said.
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, 2-1. Lewisville scored three runs in the first and tacked on three runs 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 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 was not cleanly fielded, allowing the inning to continue. The Lions had three more hits 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 to win the first game, but the damage had been done for the Panthers long before he entered 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 the second game.
Sisk threw a complete game with a couple of minor speed bumps in the fifth and sixth innings
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 end the McBee rally.
Sisk struck out the side in the seventh. The third strikeout prompted 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, 20-8, advance to the 1A state championship series to face Latta in the best-of-three series which starts Monday. McBee finished the season 12-6.
Latta defeated Hannah-Pamplico twice on Friday night to advance to the championship series.
No game time has been announced yet.