NEW CASTLE —
Evan Kendall isn’t your typical high school baseball player.
The Shenango High pitcher and third baseman actually enjoys learning and working tirelessly to improve his craft.
“He’s a student of the game,” Wildcats coach Mike Othites said. “He’s always studying pitching and working on things. You don’t see that as much now as you did with my generation.
“His dad (Bill) is a big influence on his life and they’re always practicing this pitch and that pitch. They’re always calling me and asking if they can get in the gym to work on things. He’s one of the few that do that.”
EARNING THE NOD
The sophomore kept his team’s playoff hopes alive by shutting out Riverside over six innings to improve his record to 4-2 on the season. Kendall scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four in the 10-0 win over the Panthers on Saturday.
He scored three times and accepted two free passes against Riverside. Kendall doubled and scored twice in a 7-2 win over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Friday.
The performances earned him Lawrence County Athlete of the Week honors, an award sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy and selected by the New Castle News sports staff.
“I expect to do that,” Kendall said of his solid performance. “I wasn’t expecting to shut them out like I did. It was pretty awesome to do that. I went into the game like any other one and just played my game. They were a tough team and we had to work a little harder to beat them.”
The key to the win was getting ahead of the Panthers’ hitters early in counts and then letting his defense do the work.
“I was trying to throw first-pitch strikes,” Kendall said. “I had my slider that game. My fastball was hitting spots, but the offspeed really kept them off balance. I was just trying to hit locations and keep them off the bases.
“When they make good contact on the ball, I know the guys behind me will make plays on it. That kept them off the bases, so we were playing with no pressure the whole game.”
Othites said Kendall and his defense were working in perfect harmony Saturday.
“He was in command of all his pitches and we were making every play behind him,” the Wildcats’ mentor said. “He’d get a ground ball and we’d make the play. We’d go into the hole and throw guys out. It was a very clean game in how he pitched and how we fielded.”