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After being undefeated through their first four games, head coach Frank Consiglio’s squad looked strong heading into April. Many thought his team had not faced a truly good team, but the Kits were not about to complain about starting 4-0.
Evanston picked up their third straight victory against Lane Tech at home two weeks ago, scoring nine times in the bottom of the sixth to break open a tight 3-2 game on a chilly afternoon at Evanston Stadium. The Kits had five hits in the inning, highlighted by Matt Carmichael (3 for 4) and Trevor Forde (3 for 5, 5 RBI), each getting two hits. In the fifth, Max Siedlecki doubled home Mark Johnson (2 for 4, 3B) to break a 2-2 tie. On the mound, Jordan Crawford pitched the first four innings, giving up three hits, one earned run and striking out six. Justin Kleschen pitched the last two scoreless innings for his second consecutive victory.
The Kits then faced off against Zion-Benton, scoring four times with two out in the first and three times in the fourth winning 7-1, on another chilly day at home. Three Wildkit pitchers combined on a solid seven-hit effort, giving up only one run. Danny Goldman got the win, with Jack Anderson and Matt Munro contributing solid relief.
The Kits got it started with two out in the first inning, when Kenny Horwat reached first base on an error and Mark Johnson walked. Matt Carmichael then tripled over the right fielder’s head scoring both runners. Max Siedlecki followed up with a deep double to center field scoring Carmichael. Another Z-B error let in the fourth run of the inning. In the third, Gabe Derman (2 hits, 2 RBI, 3 SB) knocked a 2 RBI double.
Evanston was as hot as any team around prior to their game a week and a half ago with Hersey. The Wildkits had won their first four games by a run total of 42-6. The team’s pitching and hitting was peerless. Evanston brought a .414 batting average and 0.84 ERA into the nonconference contest against the Huskies, who won 25 games and the MSL East title last spring. Hersey proved too much for Evanston, at least early on that day. The Huskies, who hit a team-record 39 homers last season, belted three in the first three innings on their way to a 5-2 win to snap Evanston’s four-game, season-opening winning streak.
The Wildkits, playing from behind all day, did not make plays at critical times. All of the Huskies’ three homers came after batters faced a 0-2 count. All of the Huskies’ runs came off the homers.
“We didn’t execute our pitches,” Forde said. “The pitching staff has done a great job, but this time they didn’t. We had good counts, but we made bad pitches. You can’t do that to good hitters.”
Justin Kleschen surrendered all three homers and took the loss. Matt Munro, who came on in relief, set down the first eight batters he faced, and pitching two and two-thirds scoreless innings. He has not allowed a run this spring.
“It’s never good to lose,” Coach Consiglio said. “It helps that Hersey’s a good team. We just have to get off to better starts.”
After the loss, Evanston headed to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a spring tournament and started off their trip with a bang. The Kits broke open a close, 2-1 game with 3 runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by back-to-back, run-scoring extra base hits from Johnson (double) and Horwat (triple). Crawford battled on the mound, pitching four and two-thirds strong innings. Anderson was extremely impressive in relief, shutting down Desales for one and a third innings of hitless baseball. Siedlecki finished with a solid effort in the seventh inning. Evanston got on the board in the first on a 2-run double from Forde. The game stayed hard-fought and tight until the fifth when Evanston started its onslaught.
Evanston then lost a close, yet high-scoring, 12-10 game against Ballard (Ky.) High School and followed up the next day with another close loss, this time losing 3-2 to Butler (S.C.) High School. The Kits finished their trip with a 13-3 win against Fleming (S.C.) High School.
Evanston came back to Illinois and quickly prepared to face Mundelein last Saturday, but were crushed by the Mustangs, 12-2.
The Kits are now 6-4 overall, heading into cross-conference play tomorrow against Glenbrook North at home. They stay home to face Libertyville on Saturday and Monday they face Maine West. Evanston starts conference play next Tuesday against Glenbrook South then go to Glenview to face them again just two days later.