Pitchers are always searching for comfort zones, and Evan Giles is confident he’s located his.
The Franklin Community High School junior for close to a decade has accompanied his mother, Kim, an executive assistant for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, to the annual College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Kid, meet candy store.
“It’s awesome here. It’s how it is every year in Omaha. Just the atmosphere. The people who come here, you can tell they love baseball,” Giles said.
Giles, while soaking up the action at TD Ameritrade Park during the past week, has even found himself pulling for Vanderbilt University. The admitted lack of impartiality has something to do with the Commodores having excellent pitching.
This is a subject Giles knows plenty about, having posted a 5-1 record this past season with an ERA of only 0.69. In 61 innings of work, Giles struck out 105 batters and demonstrated excellent control by walking just 20.
Entrusted at the plate as Franklin’s lead-off hitter, Giles sported a batting average of .377 to go along with six doubles, seven steals and a team-best 25 runs.
The ability to positively impact Cubs baseball games from such a wide range of angles earned Giles the honor of Player of the Year for the Daily Journal’s 2014 All-County Baseball Team.
“Evan had a phenomenal season. He kept us in every ballgame he pitched in. We asked a lot of Evan, and he was always up for the challenge,” said first-year Grizzly Cubs coach Ryan Feyerabend, whose squad finished with a 14-11 record and was second in the final Mid-State Conference standings at 9-3.
“He competes at a high level, works hard, and there’s potential for him to do this for a living. In Evan’s age group I haven’t seen too many better.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-hander is already committed to play baseball at Indiana State University beginning the 2015-16 school year.
Based on the improvement Giles has made to this point of his high school baseball career, it’s not a complete reach to think he could be in Omaha sometime in the near future as a player rather than a spectator.
After all, the Sycamores have qualified for nine NCAA Tournaments, the most recent being 2012 and again this season, and one World Series (1986).
Giles still will be modeling Franklin blue next spring. He hopes by the outset of his senior season to have a dependable third pitch to go along with a fastball commonly clocked in the high-80s and a hard slider.
The objective over the offseason months — he’ll play for the Evansville Razorbacks this summer — is for Giles to become more confident in his curve and change-up pitches.
It’s entirely possible additional strength training might also add a few more mph to Giles’ fastball, so that it’s hovering around 90.
For now, he’s satisfied with the progress made between his sophomore and junior years and the results it produced.
“I feel like I had a pretty good year. I got a lot stronger physically and was able to improve last summer playing against good competition,” Giles said. “This year, honestly, I felt like I threw the ball harder and had more pop coming off the bat when I was hitting.”