A week before the Evanston Township High School baseball team traveled to Boca Raton, Fla., they first had to face two teams that made it to the Illinois class 4A final four last spring and a third team that is also a powerhouse in the State. Errors held the Kits back in two of the games.
On April 1 Evanston played host to the Prairie Ridge Wolves, who last year beat Oak Park River Forest High School to win the state title. The Wildkits seemed to have their hands full early on with the Wolves, but it turned out that their own hands failed them throughout the game, as they committed five errors in the shortened contest.
The Wolves scored in every inning off starting pitcher Carlos Ramirez, and even though the final score was 6-3, only three of those runs were earned, due to Evanston’s fielding woes. The Wolves had three hits, but one of those was a home run by outfielder Nolan Jacoby. Evanston countered with only two hits in the game.
ETHS player Davide Harris hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning to cut the deficit to 2-1. Evanston added another run with a single by Morgan Fitzpatrick, a double by DH David Stillerman and an RBI ground out by Trevor Forde.
Wildkit head coach Frank Consiglio liked his team’s fight but does not take any satisfaction from close losses against good teams. “It doesn’t mean much to play teams close,” Coach Consiglio said.
The coach suggested some of the errors were due to cold weather, but added, “Prairie Ridge executed in the same conditions.”
The next day, Evanston faced another good team, the Stevenson Patriots. Once again though, Evanston lost their chance, mostly due to bad defense. A combined seven errors were committed on a cold day, with Evanston falling to the Patriots 7-4. Evanston fell behind 4-1 and was never able to come back after the third inning. They did, though, cut the lead in the sixth inning to 6-4 but were shut down after that. The Wildkits starting pitcher David Horwitz allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings in the loss.
The Kits ended their home stand on April 4 with a double header against the Hersey Huskies. In the first game, Evanston caught fire early, giving starting pitcher Greg Otte a 4-1 lead in the third inning. The Kits could not hold onto the lead after a two-run double in the sixth inning gave the Huskies a 5-4 lead, which was the final score.
The second game in the double header provided Evanston with a much needed breath of fresh air as Evanston’s offense carried the load. Evanston was losing 2-0 going into the third inning but then exploded for eight runs in the inning and then four more in the fifth inning, leading Evanston to an easy 12-5 victory. The runs were more than enough to give ETHS junior Josh Channin, who pitched a solid four innings, his first win.
Evanston then left the chilly North Shore to fly to the Sunshine State for the National Grand Slam Tournament which took place April 6-9. Although the Kits were partially there for fun and games – such as going to a mini-golf course, a pro baseball game and the movies – they were also there to show some big-time Florida teams what Evanston is all about.
They kicked off the action against South Fork High School from Miami. The Kits showed a little jet lag, as they lost 7-1 in their first match-up. The next day they faced Masters Academy of Boca Raton, and this time the Kits showed much more promise in much warmer weather than usual. After giving up one run in the first inning, the Kits scored 10 unanswered runs, eventually winning 10-1.
The next day against Westminster Academy of South Miami, the Evanston team picked up where it left off, by exploding for 11 more runs and again giving up only one run, winning 11-1. The Kits then dropped the last game to South Miami University 6-0 to end their exciting Florida trip with a record of 2-2.
The Kits have an easier schedule coming up in the next two weeks, which are jam-packed with games, most of which are at home. Evanston is 4-7 and is looking to improve now that the season is in full swing. The Kits will look to show their true form during conference play in the coming weeks.