The Evanston Township High School baseball team looked to extend its winning streak to three games and win for the 16th time this season as they headed into battle with Central Suburban League foe Maine South on May 1. Unfortunately, the Kits were unable to get past the opposition and fell to the Hawks 6-3 on a warm afternoon in Evanston.
The Kits trailed 6-0 in the fourth inning after giving up four runs in the second and two in the fourth as a result of two errors. But in the bottom of the fourth, the Kits made it 6-1 when senior Julian Gonzalez scored after junior Jackson Mihevc reached on an error, allowing Gonzalez to score from third.
The Kits scored a run in the fifth and sixth innings to make it 6-3, but their comeback fell short. Despite the tying run at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Kits were unable to get any closer and allowed the Hawks to escape with the victory. The loss dropped the Kits’ record to 15-7 overall.
“We had a bad inning and we came back and we outplayed them the last four innings,” said manager Frank Consiglio. “I liked the way we finished. When you are in a big game and they put a crooked number on you early, it is tough to dig in. I thought we did dig in and I thought we were a key hit away from getting back to where we wanted to be.”
In the fifth inning, Consiglio brought in senior Hunter Bailey to pitch in relief of senior starter Charlie Binford. Bailey kept the Kits in the game, shutting the Hawks down in the final two and two-thirds innings.
“I was very pleased [with Hunter]. He wants to be out there. He has fun doing it. He has good enough stuff to get outs and he has been consistent lately. He has just got to let his ball do the work,” said Consiglio regarding Bailey. “His ball moves all over the place and he throws it for strikes. When he gets strike one, [opposing teams] are hitting like .087 off him. So as long as he gets that first pitch, he’s good.”
Coach Consiglio said, “With Charlie [Binford], [opposing teams] are going to put the ball in play. There are days where they put the ball in play and it is hit at some one. Then there are days where they find holes. Today they found a few holes, which ma[de] it tough on him.”
The day after the Maine South game, the Kits bounced back and beat Waukegan 7-3, improving to 16-7 overall. But the Kits were unable to carry that momentum into their May 3 matchup with Niles West, and lost 17-3. They lost 10-3 on May 4, this time to Maine West, falling to 16-9 overall.
At 16-9 and with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, Coach Consiglio is pleased with how his team has performed to this point, but he knows there is work to be done if the Kits want to make a run in the postseason, which begins on May 20.
“Overall, we are having a lot of success. We are playing everybody tight. We have had some really good wins and we anticipate adding more. This is just the beginning,” said Consiglio. “But with this group, if they improve, they can make a nice run and have some success late in the season. [But] if we are the same team on May 1 that we are on May 18, then we are not going to get to where we want to be.”
A victory over archrival New Trier on May 9 in Evanston would certainly help the Kits get to where they want to be. That game will be followed by matchups with Walter Payton Prep on May 10 and Highland Park on May 11.