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After losing two years in a row in the Regionals, Head Coach Frank Consiglio knows he has the talent to finally get his team over the hump, with eight returning starters from last year’s squad. One of those returning starters is junior pitcher Jordan Crawford who ended last season on a tear and has started his second season the same way.

Crawford gave Evanston an encouraging peek into the future by pitching like an ace during the second half of last season.

Coach Consiglio trusted the sophomore enough to start him in the regional semifinal won by the Wildkits. The fourth-year skipper then handed the right-hander the ball in this spring’s opener on March 20.

Crawford did as expected; striking out four in four innings in Evanston’s, 10-2, win over 2008 state champion Prairie Ridge.

“He’s settled into that position,” said Consiglio, who’s searching for his inaugural regional title, and Evanston’s first since 2005. “He has good location and stays down in the zone. He does a nice job of going to his second and third pitches when he needs to. The biggest thing is that he competes every step of the way.”

Crawford is one of several veterans in the dugout. The Wildkits welcome back 10 seniors and eight starters.

“Just having that experience of playing together is huge,” Consiglio said. “They also have a get-after-it mentality. They play together and work hard. That’s the key.”

The Kits got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 6 run, 1st inning lead highlighted by a 2 RBI single by Kenny Horwat and an RBI single by Ameer Cannon. The Kits set the tone early, swiping 3 bases in the 1st and 6 overall. Horwat went 3 for 4, Gabe Derman and Matt Carmichael both had 2 hits. Crawford was relieved by Jack Anderson, who pitched 2 scoreless innings. Max Siedlecki finished the 7th for the Kits.

Last Tuesday, Evanston played their first home game against a good St. Ignatius team and the Kits seemingly picked up where they left off in their season opener. Evanston pounded out 15 hits in their slaughter rule, 13-1, victory over the Wolfpack. Horwat led the offensive attack going 3 for 4 with 7 RBIs and 2 home runs. Other offensive stars include Trevor Forde (4 for 4), Mia Delgado (3 for 3) and Gabe Derman (2 for 3). Not to be overlooked was the solid pitching by Justin Kleschen who went 4 innings giving up only 1 hit. Jack Anderson finished up the 5th for the Kits.

For the second straight game, Evanston set the tone early scoring 2 runs in the 1st and 5 in the 2nd innings. The Kits added 2 more runs, one on a Horway solo shot in the 4th and then ended the game with Horwat’s bomb in the 5th.

Up next for the Kits (2-0) is Zion Benton at home tomorrow afternoon; then they play a double-header on Saturday against Hersey, first game at 10:30, second game at 12:30. The Kits then head off to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a spring break tournament, taking on Desales (KY) High School next Monday, Ballard (KY) High School the next day, Butler (SC) High School next Wednesday and finish off the trip by taking on Fleming (SC) High School on Thursday. They come home for a Saturday morning game against Mundelein and stay home to take on Highland Park on April 12.