After being handed a second seed in the Niles West Sectional for their playoff tournament, Evanston Head Coach Frank Cosiglio was confident his team would redeem themselves after an early exit from last year’s playoffs.
In their first game of the regional playoffs, the Kits handily beat Schurz and showed why they were given a high seed. Sophomore Jordan Crawford started the game for Evanston. He was roughed up early with two runs in the first inning runs, but that was all he allowed for the rest of his five innings. The Kits’ Noah Doppelt batted 3-for-4, and Gabe Derman went 2-for-4, with three stolen bases and two runs scored. Evanston broke out offensively in the third inning, scoring nine times. They kept that lead throughout the contest. Kevin Rosinski and Greg Otte combined to pitch the last two innings, with the three pitchers racking up a combined eleven strike-outs in the Kits’ 10-2 victory over Schurz.
The Kits then faced off against their biggest rival, the New Trier Trevians, for the regional title. Although the Trevians had a number-five seed in the tournament and started out the year with a 2-7 record, many believed they were on a roll and a dangerous team.
From the very start of the game it was clear Evanston was in for a tough morning in Winnetka. The Trevians tried a clever game plan in the first inning, with two of their first three hitters getting on base with bunt singles. Junior Matt Carmichael started on the mound for the Kits, but could retire only one batter in New Trier’s eight-run onslaught in the first inning.
The Trevians’ Jeff Dsida walked to force in a run in that first inning. The Trevians’ designated hitter, Eric West, who went 4-for-4 in the game, singled in a run; and Peter McNitt’s RBI single boosted their edge to 3-0. Carmichael retired Peter Lind on a fly ball, but walked Stu Brown to bring in another run. The Trevians’ number-nine hitter Josh Perlmutter then doubled to left field. The Kits’ relief pitcher reloaded the bases when he hit a batter and then yielded a two-run single to Gordie Campbell before the barrage ended.
Coach Consiglio said he knew his team had just faced a top-quality team. “We haven’t been roughed up like that in one inning all year,” said Consiglio. “Give New Trier credit for the way they executed today. They got a couple of bunts to go and they came out attacking us. They did the job.
Evanston touched up Trevian starter Connor Murphy for two runs in the fourth inning, with RBI hits by Mark Johnson and Matt Felvey. In the fifth inning, the Kits’ cleanup hitter Trevor Forde drove in two runs with a single to right center. But that offense for Evanston clearly was not enough, as New Trier went on to crush Evanston’s playoff dreams in the regional championship game, 12-6.
“New Trier is a championship team and they have what everyone wants. They understand what they need to do, and they know how to execute. Every team has its obstacle and New Trier is our obstacle right now to getting to where we want to be. But we battled our hearts out when a lot of teams would have folded.”
Evanston ends their season with a 19-14 record and an overall solid season. They come back next season with a good core of talent with players like Matt Carmichael, Trevor Forde, Ameer Cannon, Jake Citterman, Gabe Derman, Noah Doppelt, Kenny Horwat and Mark Johnson. Hopefully that group of Wildkits can bring some playoff success Evanston has been longing for all these years.