Denver Evans, a Cambridge senior pitcher, and Spencer Hans, a Lake Mills senior infielder, were selected to play in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Classic on June 28-29 in Oshkosh.
Evans led the Blue Jays to a first-place tie in the Capitol South Conference. Evans started on the mound in a 10-inning, 1-0 victory against Belleville in early May and a complete-game, shutout against Wisconsin Heights a week earlier.
It was the Heights game that gave Evans the confidence in the team to pursue a conference title and it was his ability to pitch 9⅓ innings of the Belleville game that gave Evans the true understanding of what he was capable of.
“In that game, we had bases loaded with no outs, and I remember striking out the first guy and then getting the next guy to pop out to right field,” Evans said. “Our right fielder played it perfectly and threw out the runner trying to score from third.
“That really helped me realize that I could just throw strikes and trust the guys behind me. I didn’t have to strike everyone out.”
From there, he was in complete control maintaining an ERA around 1.00 throughout the season before it rose to 1.53 by the end of the year.
“Sheer dominance,” Cambridge coach Larry Martin said. “He ended the season with an ERA of 1.53 and that was the highest it had been all year. His ERA hovered around 1.00. I don’t care what level you’re at, that’s phenomenal.”
Evans and Hans have familiarity playing together as they’ve played for Thundercats Baseball Academy together based in Lake Mills since they were 10 years old.
“We were both super excited when we saw that we were going to play together,” Hans said. “I never really thought about it all that much, I was just surprised and excited when all the all-conference and all-district and all-star game stuff was coming out.”
Hans turned the corner from being a top-of-the-order singles hitter with smooth hands fit to play shortstop, to being a top-of-the-order threat to get himself into scoring position with one swing of the bat.
“It was really just maturing, I didn’t do anything crazy other than put the time in in the weight room,” Hans said. “I definitely had a lot more doubles which had a lot to do with spending more time in the weight room.”
The elephant in the room for the selections is that Capitol North Player of the Year Nick Carpenter, a Lake Mills senior, was not one of the players selected to the all-star game. The left-handed starting pitcher, who committed to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, dominated the league, but didn’t make the list.
“He had a great season and I know he put in the work in the off season,” said Hans, who is committed to UW-La Crosse. “I was disappointed he didn’t make it, but there were a lot of D-I pitchers in our region, which made it really hard to get in.”