On May 5, Evanston’s varsity baseball team played their overall best game of the season against New Trier, something that had many fans wondering why they had not played this way before, and whether they could keep it up going into the last weeks of the regular season. Evanston has done well at home this season, with eight wins, but the team has struggled mightily on the road, picking up only one win away from Evanston stadium.
Head Coach Frank Consiglio’s team is now 9-15 and has just recently picked up the eighth seed in the Glenbrook South Sectional in the class 4A playoffs. They will play the regional round in their own stadium.
The Kits faced off against the Waukegan Bulldogs on May 1 at home, but just three days before, the Bulldogs beat Evanston 3-2. In that game the Kits led early, but a late surge by Waukegan led the latter to an unexpected victory. Evanston looked for revenge on their home field.
In the first inning, the Kits scored two runs, then four in the second and two more in the third, putting them up 8-0 going into the fourth. The offense was led by Sean Witt who hit for the cycle, a double in the first, a home run in the second, a single in the third and the hardest part, a triple in the sixth.
Billy Farrow went 3 for 3, with a home run and three RBIs. Sophomore pitcher Matt Carmichael did his job by tossing five innings of three-run ball, his only mistake coming in the fifth giving up five hits. Josh Channin took over the mound to finish off the Bulldogs in a 13-5 win.
The next morning, Evanston faced off against Deerfield, and this time Sean Kincaid stepped on to the mound and delivered for the Kits. Kincaid settled down after an early rough patch and tossed six innings of three-run ball. Evanston’s bats stayed hot, especially junior David Stillerman’s. He went 2 for 2, and hit his first home run on the varsity squad. Senior Davide Harris went 3 for 4, with two RBI’s to push the Kits to a 5-3 win over Deerfield.
On May 5, the third-ranked powerhouse New Trier came to Evanston with a ton of momentum, and many believed this would be just another small game for the Trevians. But the Kits stymied them and turned in their best performance so far this season.
The Kits controlled the game from the start, as junior starting pitcher Greg Otte shut down the Trevians 1-2-3 in the first. In the bottom of the first inning, the Kits offense backed him up with five runs, highlighted by Stillerman’s two RBI single followed by Morgan Fitzpatrick’s two-out RBI single. The Kits’ dominance continued into the second, as they tacked on two more runs to go up on the state-wide ranked team 7-0.
It seemed as though New Trier had not come ready and did not show much fight after Evanston took the early lead. The Trevians committed six errors in the game and mad a poor showing of their consistently great pitching — giving up 12 hits to the Kits.
Davide Harris once again turned in a three-hit day against the Trevians, going 3 for 4, with four runs scored and three stolen bases. Although the offense put up some big numbers, the biggest story was the pitching of Otte, who threw a complete game — five hits, eight strikeouts – a performance he knew he had under control
“That five-spot in the first made it a lot easier,” said Otte, who has become the ace of the pitching staff. “But New Trier is a great team, and being down five runs for them is like one run to other teams. So I had to keep attacking them. I had command of all of my pitches, except for that one change-up I hung. Otherwise, I just hit my spots.”
Two days later, New Trier took care of business at home, dominating Evanston in an 11-1 slaughter-rule-shortened game. The Kits had only three hits; the Trevians scored eight in the fifth to end the contest. And after a 5-3 loss to Lake Zurich the day after, Evanston beat Maine East 9-5 to bring their record to 9-15.
Coming up for the Kits are Glenbrook South, on the road tomorrow, and Niles North on Saturday. They finish up their regular season home games next Monday against Niles West and Fenwick the next day. Based on the May 5 New Trier game, Coach Consiglio can see his team improving at the right time.
“There’s no doubt we’re starting to turn the corner,” said Consiglio. “We played a solid ballgame. This is the way we want to play. With a team this young and this inexperienced, we thought if we just played solid we could make a run over the last quarter of the season. There’s ability here, and this is a great win for us.”