For any new coach, there’s a transition, and Scott Evans knew that when he took the baseball coaching job at Richmond.
But once the Blue Devils transitioned, they were tough to beat.
“They finally got it at the end of the year, and finally overachieved,” Evans said. “As a coach, you focus on the process and not the results, and that’s something that I kind of live by.
“They worked hard and gelled as a team. The key component to overachieving is gelling as a team. We played pretty close to our best game this year. I’m real happy with their effort.”
Evans led the Blue Devils to a shared Blue Water Area Conference title, a Division 2 district title and a spot in the regional championship in his first season with team. They finished the season with a 25-12 record, 12-2 in the BWAC. For his efforts, Evans is the Times Herald Baseball Coach of the Year. Marine City’s Daryn Letson and St. Clair’s Bill McElreath were also considered for the award.
Richmond tied Almont for the BWAC title, but beat the Raiders in the district rubber match. In the regional, Richmond defeated Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 11-8 in 11 innings to advance to the final, where it lost to St. Clair.
Seeing some of his young players thrive in helping the Blue Devils get through that regional semifinal was nice for Evans.
“The game’s not about me, it’s about them,” he said. “Maybe the focus on the process is starting to pay off for us. When you practice with great intensity, passion and purpose and you get into that moment, you’re ready for it.
Richmond loses some key pieces to graduation, namely Jeremy Schweiger and James McPherson, but several good players return for the Blue Devils as they look to make an even deeper run.
“It all comes down to pitching,” Evans said. “Defensively, we have a solid enough team, and offensively we have a solid enough team, it’s whether our pitching can develop. To make a good run, you have to have pitchers who can make pitches, dominate and get people out. And you can’t have holes in your lineup.”