After advancing to the Super Sectionals last season for the first time since 2003, the Evanston Township High School baseball team hopes to have similar success in the 2015 campaign.
The Wildkits certainly got off on the right foot toward another solid season. They beat Ridgewood 13-0 on March 17 in the season opener. The Kits scored the 13 runs on only seven hits and were aided by nine Rebel errors, allowing the Kits to cruise to victory. Ahead 9-0 entering the fifth inning, the Kits scored four more runs in the top of the fifth and held the Rebels scoreless in the bottom half, which ended the game via the slaughter rule.
The Kits then beat Prairie Ridge 10-4 on March 21 in their home opener. The Kits scored 10 runs in the second inning, including a bases loaded double by junior Ben Wilson, as the Kits cruised to their second victory of the season. Starting pitcher Russell Snapp improved to 2-0 on the season in pitching the first three innings, with seniors Zach Anderson, James Allen, and junior Dylan Mulvihill combining to pitch the final four innings in relief.
Then on March 26, the Kits suffered their first loss of the season, falling to Notre Dame 2-0. After combining for 23 runs on 16 hits in the first two games, the Kits were only able to muster two hits against Notre Dame, as they fell to 2-1 overall.
On March 31 the Kits took on Hersey in an attempt to bounce back from the Notre Dame lossbut had to settle for a 5-5 tie. Trailing 5-2 entering in the sixth inning, the Kits scored twice in the bottom half of the inning off singles from Ben, James, senior Mark Roth, and junior Charlie Maxwell to make it a 5-4 game. The Kits eventually tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when junior Alex Galvin scored on a squeeze bunt by Mark. The Kits had a chance to win it with a runner on third with two outs but were unable to bring home, resulting in a draw.
The next day, the Kits took on Von Steuben and beat the Panthers 13-0 in five innings due to the slaughter rule for the second time this season. Leading 4-0 in the bottom of the third, the Kits extended the lead to 8-0 after scoring on two passed balls, a throwing error, and an RBI triple by Ben. Then in the bottom of the fourth, the Kits scored five more runs off an infield single from senior Gill Hurtig, another passed ball, an RBI double by junior Tyler McHolland, a sacrifice fly by senior Quinn Mannard, and an RBI single by Mark, making it a 13-0 contest. In the top of the fifth, the Panthers had two runners on base after back-to-back singles, but were unable to get any runs across, giving the Kits the shutout victory. With the win, the Kits overall record improved to 3-1-1.
Regarding his team’s performance against Von Steuben, Head Coach Frank Consiglio said, “They played well. We are young as far as our at-bats and we are struggling to put consistent at-bats together right now and until we do that, we are not going to be where we need to be.” The Coach continued, “But I think it is coming and I am starting to see signs of more consistency with the bats.”
Kits’ pitchers Zach and senior Andrew Nummy combined to throw five shutout innings while holding the visitors to just three hits. Regarding Zach’s and Andrew’s performances on the mound, Coach Consiglio said, “Zach has been real good for us the whole year so far, and today, Andrew did a real nice job of throwing strikes.” The Coach added, “One of the things you cannot do is walk guys. So I thought they both did a nice job of attacking the zone and making sure guys did not get on base.”
After the Von Steuben game, the Kits traveled to Vero Beach, Fla., April 2-7, to play seven games as part of their spring break.. In the first game of the trip on April 2, the Kits took on Kenston High School and won by a score of 7-2. In that game, the Kits tallied four runs in the first inning, two in the third, and another run in the top of the sixth to take a 7-0 lead. Kenston scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 7-2 game, but that is the closest Kenston would get as the Kits held on for the victory. The Kits followed the Kenston game with victories over Westerville North on April 3, 11-7, McDowell on April 4, 6-5, and Susan Wagner High School on April 4, 10-5.
As of April 4, the Kits record stood at 7-1-1 overall. When asked how his team can maintain their quality play to start the season, Coach Consiglio said, “Consistency and work hard. We have got so much to improve. Every single area of the game we are not good enough in right now.”
But the Kits seem to be doing something right at the plate, however, as they have scored a combined 75 runs through the first nine games, which averages out to just over eight runs per game, which pleases Coach Consiglio. Regarding this wealth of runs scored so far, the Coach said, “We are pleased [with the amount of runs scored so far] and it is more than I thought and with our pitching, if we score four or five we generally get it done,” the Coach explained. “That is our goal, to put up four or five [run per game]. So that is a good sign. We have put a lot of hits up in the games, so it is good.”
The Kits were set to finish up the Florida trip with games against Boardman and Shady Springs on April 6 followed by John F. Kennedy High School on April 7. They return to Evanston to take on Highland Park on April 14, then visit Glenbrook North on April 16, and host Libertyville on April 18.