Evart baseball team ends season with winning record

EVART — Evart’s baseball season ended May 31 in the predistricts but coach George Sims was still pleased with the progress he saw on his team.

The Wildcats ended at 14-12-1 after falling to White Cloud in the districts.

“I was happy to get to .500,” Sims said. “We’re disappointed in the districts. We had too many errors and gave up too many runs. We had our chances. We had the bases loaded and couldn’t score a run. We truly felt we were the better team, based on what we saw in that game. We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”

The Wildcats were 9-3 in the Highland Conference.

“That’s a tough baseball conference when you have teams like Pine River and Beal City,” Sims said.

Evart lost Jeff Race the first inning of the first home game to a major leg injury when a runner slid into him at a base.

His brother, Andrew Race, came up as a sophomore and performed admirably.

“We had two guys who couldn’t finish the season because of injury and two more because of academics,” said Sims, noting that younger players like Andrew Race had to fill the bill. “We asked a lot of them.”

The Wildcats graduate outstanding players like Preston Boyd, a 3-year starter, who batted .435 with three homers and 31 RBIs and had four saves as a pitcher. Jarek VanOrder batted .394 as a senior and was 2-2-1 as a pitcher. Two other seniors, Tyler Wirth and Jarrod Wheeler, batted .216 and .288 respectively.

Among the key returning players is Jake McKinstry, who batted .389 with a 5-2 record as a pitcher.