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A Pirate who hates the hook

Pasco pitcher Trey Evans hates seeing his team struggle when he's not on the mound.

By STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


DADE CITY -- The game was Trey Evans' for the taking.

The Pasco left-hander had allowed two hits and struck out seven Hudson batters through five innings as the Pirates took an 8-1 lead Tuesday.

Then came the hook.

Evans, a senior, had thrown 87 pitches up to that point, and that was plenty for Pasco coach Ricky Giles.

"We try to keep the count down early in the season," Giles said. "He kind of took it rough, because he knew he had them. He wanted to keep at it."

With two innings left, or so he thought at the time, Evans said he could have finished the game. Instead, he watched helplessly from the dugout as the Pirates blew the lead and lost 9-8 in 11 innings.

"I just kept telling (Giles) that I wanted to go back out there, but he's the coach," Evans said. "I kind of had knots in my stomach."

Last night, Giles penciled Evans' name onto the lineup card at first base with Jessie Wilson scheduled to start against Central. For Evans, watching another pitcher from on the field isn't any easier than peering out from the dugout. Especially if the Pirates fall behind.

"I hate when I'm on first base and the guy on the mound is giving up hits," Evans said. "You just want to go out and do it yourself."

"He's a competitor," Giles said.

That competitiveness enabled Evans to step in as the Pirates' ace last season after Scott DeWitt, the front-runner for that job, injured his back. Evans responded by going 8-1 with a 1.90 earned-run average and 56 strikeouts.

"Toward the end of the season, they were saying I was the ace and stuff," Evans said. "I kind of felt the pressure. But I didn't feel like I was the ace like (I do) this year."

As a sophomore, Evans certainly didn't feel any pressure during a 3-0 start. But a line drive back to the mound off the bat of Ridgewood's Chris Way, however, bruised tendons in Evans' left knee and ended his season.

"I knew I'd come back, but I was thinking I'd be gun-shy and scared," said Evans, who overcame his fears by fielding endless line drives and ground balls last season during Pasco practices.

"I think he grew up a lot as far as being a pitcher," Giles said. "He works hard."

Getting hit also helped Evans improve his control and taught him what can happen when he leaves the ball over the middle of the plate for hitters to tee off on.

Evans' repertoire features a fastball that reaches 87 miles per hour, a curve and a changeup. Those pitches come at a rapid-fire pace as Evans prefers to work quickly on the mound.

"I don't have time to really sit back and think about what's going on," he said.

Giles places Evans and Wilson, who were teammates on the 1998 Dade City All-Star team that won a Little League district championship, on the same par. Evans is the hard thrower and Wilson has better control, the coach said.

Evans got a confidence boost this summer by tossing a one-hitter for a Dade City all-star team against Georgia in the Southeastern Wooden Bat Classic in Tennessee.

"I knew I had to do good," Evans said. "The whole time I just felt like I'm getting ready for this season."

Although he has yet to earn a decision, Evans is ready and willing to pitch some more.

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