Whatever Evan Giles has in mind for an encore will have to be pretty special.
The pitching ace and leadoff hitter for Franklin Community High School’s baseball program, Giles is the Daily Journal’s reigning Player of the Year. This means the senior finds himself attempting to follow one tough act — his own — in the weeks ahead.
“I like to set the tone for everyone else,” said Giles, who signed for Indiana State University and as a junior posted a 5-1 record and 0.69 earned-run average while batting .377 and leading the Grizzly Cubs in runs with 25.
When Giles speaks of setting the tone, he means offensively and defensively.
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Franklin posted a 14-11 record in coach Ryan Feyerabend’s debut season. This included runner-up status in the final Mid-State Conference standings with a 9-3 mark.
Giles would like to fare better this spring, an attitude mirrored by the work he put in during the winter months.
“I go to the (high school) Fieldhouse quite a bit in the winter to throw and do some running,” Giles said. “I’m just trying to stay in shape, which isn’t easy at that time of year.”
Giles also remains dedicated to a crossover symmetry workout using resistance bands. This strengthens his rotator cuff and shoulder muscles imperative to the success of a pitcher who struck out 105 batters in 61 innings of work in 2014.
Giles’ pitching reputation is mostly because of a fastball/slider combination, though the right-hander has also put in time this offseason attempting to improve his curve and changeup.
Feyerabend appreciates what Giles has thus far accomplished in his high school career. Just the same, he knows the senior, like all outstanding pitchers, is capable of reaching back for that something extra.
“The feeling on Evan is there’s still a lot there that hopefully we’ll see this season. He is a good student of the game and a hard worker,” said Feyerabend of Giles, who is stationed in right field when not on the hill.
“His motor runs so high that if a runner is coming home and he’s in right, the ball is coming home 100 miles an hour. And if you visit the mound in the late innings of a game you practically have to wrestle him for the ball.
“That’s just the way he is.”