Four days ago Catholic High planned to entrust pitcher Parker Evans with helping to keep its season alive.
Despite persistent rains that played havoc with the third and deciding game in the Bears’ Class 5A second-round playoff series, they stuck with Evans who responded in a big way.
Evans, making his first start since April 12, delivered a two-hit masterpiece, and No. 4-seeded Catholic High backed his complete-game effort with 12 hits and a couple of highlight-reel defensive plays in a 5-1 victory Tuesday over No. 13 Hahnville.
“I was very ready,” said Evans, who threw 54 of 84 pitches for strikes. “After waiting for a couple of days … after being told you’re going to start on this day and not pitch … I was very anxious to get on the mound and do what I could do.”
Catholic had intentions of giving Evans (6-0) the ball after the Bears tied the best-of-three series with a 4-2 victory Saturday.
However, the deciding game was scheduled Sunday afternoon and heavy rains eventually pushed the winner-take-all stakes until Tuesday.
Catholic (27-6) will host No. 5 Jesuit in a best-of-three quarterfinal series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.
“It worked out for him,” Catholic coach Brad Bass. “He was fresh. He filled it (strike zone) up and did a great job.”
Evans (6-0) yielded a single in the second inning and a run-scoring double to Wade Orgeron with two outs in the fifth inning. He walked two and struck out five.
“I kept throwing in the zone,” Evans said. “My teammates helped me out by scoring a lot of runs. That gave me comfort going into the last four innings.”
Catholic took away a scoring opportunity from Hahnville (25-11) in the top of the third when Evans picked Orgeron off at second. Center fielder Patrick Crifasi then drifted back near the center field wall, leaped and extended to rob Peyton Keller of a potential home run.
“It gave us a lot of momentum going into the bottom half of the inning,” said Crifasi, who ended the sixth with a diving catch in the left-center gap that took away a double.
“We scored the runs, kept Parker in the game and kept his pitch count down.”
Catholic added to its 2-0 lead with a show of force in the third, scoring three times on five hits and knocking losing pitcher Bryce Hargis out of the game.
LSU signee Josh Smith (2-for-3) homered on a 1-0 pitch from Hargis over the right-center wall with Brandon Fairbanks (2-4) aboard, and Crifasi added to his memorable evening with a RBI-single to right.
Left fielder Tristan Welch (4-4) was part of Catholic High’s Nos. 1-2-3-4 hitters who collected nine of the teams 12 hits.
“Those guys put incredible pressure on you, especially if it’s tied or a one-run game,” Bass said of Hahnville. “We knew we had to get a quick lead and fill up the strike zone, and Parker Evans was awesome.”