Evanston’s baseball program ended a championship drought on Thursday — without even playing a game.
Maine South’s 5-3 victory over Glenbrook South produced an overall three-way tie for the crown as Evanston, GBS and New Trier all finished with 12-4 records to share the Central Suburban League South division title.
It’s the first conference title the Wildkits have won since 1990 and only the third for the program since 1981. And the fact that it came a year after reaching the Elite Eight — with a turnover of seven position starters — made it even sweeter for head coach Frank Consiglio.
“That’s really an accomplishment when you consider that we had to replace 7 players like that,” Consiglio said. “In reality, when you’re coming into a season, you always expect to win. But if you told me this group would be a No. 1 (sectional) seed, would win the conference, would win 13 wins in a row and be on the brink of being the winningest team ever here, that would have been a tough sell.
“This group has definitely over-achieved. This is really a big accomplishment for them. To me one of the biggest challenges every year is to win the conference. It’s extremely difficult, because it challenges the depth of your team and the depth of your pitching staff. It’s a grind, and it’s tough, and to win it you usually have to put a big winning streak together, like we did this year.
“It’s a really big deal to win this because it shows how well they’ve played over the entire course of the season.”
Evanston (23-7-1 overall) concludes regular season play with non-conference matchups against DePaul Prep on Friday and Lake Zurich on Saturday. The Wildkits own the No. 1 seed in the Illinois High School Association Class 4A Niles West Sectional and will play the Lincoln Park-Steinmetz winner in the first round of the Maine South Regional at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27.