Pressed into service in the 11th hour, after original starter Scotty Harvill came down with the flu, Evangel’s Austin McWhiney took first-round playoff opponent Delcambre by surprise.
“We don’t see side-arm pitchers down there where we’re at,” Delcambre head coach Johnny Trangmar said. “It gives people fits — you don’t see them like you used to.”
Using a variety of deliveries and speeds, the sidewinder gave his Eagles six strong innings, and John-Michael Boswell capped the day with a three-run walk-off home run as Evangel strolled into the second round of the Class 2A playoffs with a 10-0 victory against the visitors from south of Lafayette.
“There wasn’t really any pressure being called on late,” said McWhiney, who allowed just two hits. “I was fine. I just went out there and did what I was supposed to do.”
Said Evangel head coach Tim Hulett: “(McWhiney) did a great job. It’s about throwing strikes for him. He was very competitive in the (strike) zone. They helped out a little early, but he really settled down and threw a good game for us.”
The third-seeded Eagles were also missing shortstop Miller Parker, who sat with a concussion after taking a bat to the forehead. Harvill and Parker have until Tuesday to recover. That’s when Evangel hosts 14th-seeded Riverside in Round 2.
In spite of just three hits in the first four innings, the Eagles manufactured a 5-0 lead as they took advantage of three early errors by the Panthers. In the fifth inning, Evangel took a 7-0 lead after a pop fly was dropped in foul territory with two outs.
“The last two games we competed real well. I said, ‘Maybe we’re starting to come together,'” Trangmar said. “The first two innings we came out really well, but we just hit a wall. We made a couple errors – kids who normally don’t make errors – and you can’t make errors against (Evangel).”
The first two hitters in Evangel’s order, Spencer Goodwin (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Austin Stegall (2-4, 2 RBIs) accounted for all of the Eagles’ hits until the final inning. A one-out single by Blake Buckman and a two-out walk by Reese Dickens set the table for Boswell’s game-ender.
Delcambre opted to put Hunter Dooley on the mound just prior to Boswell’s at bat.
As Dooley warmed up, Boswell noticed he threw “about the same speed” as the prior pitcher, Chris Borel. Boswell promptly sent the first pitch high over the right-field wall.
“He threw it right where I like it,” Boswell said. “I just rocked it.”