Although Evanston’s varsity baseball team’s record does not show it, there have been many bright spots in the early part of the season prior to conference play. The highlights include a game-winning grand-slam home run and the first-ever home run over the “Blue Monster” by an Evanston player. With a loss to Maine South last Thursday, Evanston dropped to 5-11 overall and are 1-1 in CSL play.
To kick off conference play, the Kits faced off against Maine West at home — and if this game was a preview of things to come, it will be an exciting month of baseball in Evanston. Early on, the Warriors took control in the top of the first inning leading 2-0. That lead stood until the fourth, when the lead increased to 5-0 after a two-run double by Maine West.
After an RBI single by Mark Johnson, the Kits pulled to within four going into the last inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Matt Carmichael started with a single, followed by a walk by Davide Harris. Catcher Trevor Forde then singled to load the bases. Next, the DH David Stillerman was hit by a pitch to send in a run, pulling Evanston to within 5-2 with Billy Farrow coming up to bat.
Farrow battled through his at-bat, fouling off four straight pitches and working the count to 3-2. He then crushed the next pitch and the ball kept carrying and carrying, eventually clearing the right-center-field fence for a game-winning grand slam in the last at-bat of the game, putting the Kits ahead of the Warriors 6-5.
What was forgotten in the exciting game was the superb bullpen pitching by Sam Mendelson and Tyler Chatz, who pitched back-to-back scoreless innings to give Evanston a fighting chance.
The next game did not bring any heroics, as Highland Park made sure their lead stuck from early on to the end, beating Evanston 12-2. This time, both hitting and pitching came up short as Evanston mustered only two runs on five hits. Evanston pitchers walked nine and gave up eleven hits in a shortened game.
Two days later against Libertyville, it seemed to be more of the same for Evanston at home. Starting pitcher Sean Kincaid allowed seven runs in four innings and the bullpen gave up seven more, losing 14-7. If there were a bright spot in the game it was Sean Witt’s home run over the Blue Monster, the first by an Evanston hitter.
Evanston then continued their busy schedule, going to Northbrook to face Glenbrook North in a CSL cross-over game. The Kits started off hot, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning. That would be all they could get out of the Spartans, however; the Spartans slowly chipped away at the lead and eventually won on a game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh, winning 6-5.
The next day, Evanston went to Park Ridge to face Maine South. Once again the Kits took an early lead but could not hold on. The Hawks scored five runs in the bottom of the third and never looked back. Maine South held on in the seventh when Evanston tried to come back by scoring three runs. The Kits were put down with a final score of 11-6.
The Hawks came to Evanston the next day. Maine South scored early again, with two runs in the first inning, and five more in the fourth, taking a 7-2 lead going into the sixth. With the sun going down and the wind blowing like crazy, Evanston rallied back and tied the game with five runs in the last two innings with clutch base hits by Richie Foreman and Billy Farrow. The game seemed to be going into extra innings, but it was called due to darkness. The game will be continued today.
Upcoming for Evanston is a game against Waukegan at home tomorrow, and then Loyola the next day. The Kits then prepare to host New Trier next Tuesday, then go to Winnetka two days after to finish their head-to-head match-up with the Trevians. According to Head Coach Frank Consiglio, now is the time to shine before the season becomes a long struggle his players could have trouble coping with.