SPRINGFIELD — Chrys Hawkins and Merritt Evans have shared thousands of memorable moments. One of the best occurred Friday.
The Effingham County senior baseball players inked national letters of intent in a joint signing ceremony at their school. Hawkins is headed to Berry College and Evans is bound for Erskine College in South Carolina.
“This has been kind of a dream of theirs since they were really little,” Effingham County head coach Chris Johnson said. “I know there was a picture of them when they were like in first grade. It showed them being best friends at that time and it has worked its self up to the point they are now as seniors and they are prepared to move on.
“They are outstanding young men and they represent our school well.”
Johnson said Hawkins and Evans are “great leaders and great teammates.” Both players thanked God and their families for their success.
Hawkins, a third baseman, and Evans, a southpaw pitcher, have been central figures in each other’s lives almost since birth. Their parents are close friends.
“There is a video of us together at my older sister’s first birthday party,” Evans said. “It really is a lifelong relationship.”
Hawkins is a few days older than Evans.
“I definitely look up to him,” Evans said, “Even though we have always been best friends, he has always been my role model.”
“Nah, it’s him,” Hawkins responded. “He’s got the talking ability and the brain for sure.”
Evans, who posted a 12-1 record last year, briefly entertained thoughts of joining Hawkins at Berry College.
“I just felt Erskine was my best fit,” Evans said. “I just had a better bond with the coaches.”
Both players said they are glad to have wrapped up the recruiting process before their senior campaign starts.
“When I was talking to coach (David) Beasley (of Berry), he was like, ‘Now it’s stress free. Now you get to play baseball and there’s no worries about where am I going to play baseball,’ ” Hawkins said. “ ‘Just enjoy your senior year.’ ”
Hawkins and Evans expect big things for the Rebels.
“It’s going to be a fun year,” Hawkins said.