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Junior likes being team’s No. 1 pitcher, facing top opponents

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Like the hard slider he’s been known to throw, Evan Giles has experienced his own brand of movement.

Giles was part of the Indian Creek school system from kindergarten through sixth grade. He then spent two years at Franklin and one at Cathedral High School before returning to Franklin before his sophomore year.

Grizzly Cubs baseball is better for it.

The ace of Franklin’s pitching staff, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior takes a 5-0 record and 0.69 earned-run average to the mound this afternoon when the Cubs (14-10) battle Center Grove at the Class 4A Whiteland Sectional.

Giles is something of a baseball rarity in that he’s also the team’s leadoff hitter, batting .391 with six doubles, two triples, 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases.

“Pitching-wise Evan is definitely on course, but he also plays a position every game he’s not pitching,” first-year Franklin coach Ryan Feyerabend said. “What he does day in and day out, either he’s throwing a complete game or playing right field. Evan could play any position. He’s played third base, he’s played first base. He’s played shortstop.”

Pitching, though, is Giles’ bread and butter.

Giles orally committed to play baseball for Indiana State University following his 2015 high school graduation. So far this season he has chalked up 90 strikeouts in 55 innings of work and walked only 17 batters.

“I kind of expected to have a better season than I had last year,” Giles said. “We had a really good pitcher in Jeremy McKinney, so I was the No. 2 pitcher.


Name: Evan Giles

Age: 17

Born: Franklin

Family: Parents, Cecil and Kim; sisters, Chelsie, 23, and Taylor, 20

Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: “Field of Dreams”

Favorite athlete: Dustin Pedroia

Favorite team: Boston Red Sox

“Honestly, I like being the No. 1 pitcher more because you get to pitch against the better teams.”

This includes Center Grove (15-9), which takes the field today averaging 8.3 runs a game.

In other words, Giles has his work cut out.

Giles works in a fastball typically clocked in the mid- to high-80s to go with his slider. His innings pitched could be higher if his coach didn’t occasionally pull him late in games because of a high pitch count.

This in itself can make for good theater — Feyerabend attempting to pry the baseball from Giles’ right hand upon visiting the mound.

“Evan’s motor turns at a high level. He’s phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal kid who really wants to succeed at a high level,” Feyerabend said.

Giles’ lone baseball season at Cathedral came late in the 2011-12 school year.

“I liked it at Cathedral. I would just get home at like 9 o’clock at night,” said Giles, who attended the school on Indianapolis’ northeastside as a freshman. “It was tough on my mom, too, because she would have to wait for me after (baseball) practice.”

Giles’ return to Franklin netted a 5-2 pitching record last season as the Cubs finished 17-10 after losing a 1-0 heartbreaker to Jeffersonville at the Evansville Reitz Regional.

He has since added a quality change-up pitch to his repertoire. That is when he’s pitching.

“I would say Evan’s a lot stronger physically this season, which enables him to swing the bat at a high level,” Feyerabend said. “As far as athleticism and his ability, no one goes goes about his business like Evan. He has a job to do, and he takes that very seriously.”

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