The Evanston Township High School baseball team entered the IHSA Class 4A playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the Lane Tech Sectional, with hopes of making a lengthy run. The Wildkits got off to a good start toward making that happen as they beat Maine South 12-11 in the Maine South Regional semifinals on May 25.
In that game, the Kits trailed 11-10 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Kits loaded the bases and tied the game when junior Joe Epler drew a walk to force in the tying run. Then, senior Jake Urdangen lined a single past third base to drive in the winning run, giving the Kits the 12-11 victory.
With the win, the Kits advanced to the Regional final against Leyden on May 27. In that game, trailing 3-2 in the fifth, the Kits scored three runs capped off by a two-run double by Joe to put them ahead by a score of 5-3.
The Eagles got to within one run in the seventh and threatened to tie or take the lead as they had the tying run on second base with one out. Fortunately, senior Joe Snapp retired the next two batters to end the threat, allowing the Kits to escape with the 5-4 victory. In beating Leyden, the Kits captured their third Regional title in the last four years and advanced to the Lane Tech Sectional semifinals against archrival New Trier on May 31.
Regarding wining the Regional championship, head coach Frank Consiglio said, “We expect to do that [because] it is just so much fun. Playoff baseball is so much fun and any time you can win a Regional and get to a Sectional, it is just fun.” The Coach continued, “It is a great way to compete and finish your season and just to be able to face some really good teams is awesome.”
Against the Trevians, who were the No. 1 seed in the Lane Tech Sectional, the Kits fell by a score of 5-0, thus ending their season on a sour note. In that game, the Kits struggled to get the bats going, as they were held to just two hits, two hit-by-pitches and a walk by New Trier ace Thomas Nugent. The Kits’ hits came via singles from junior Fletcher Brown and Jake. The game marked just the second time the Kits were shut out over the course of the entire season (the other was against Carmel on May 18).
“They outplayed us. I thought they did a nice job against our hitters and they made us swing early in counts,” said Coach Consiglio regarding his team’s performance against New Trier. “They handcuffed us a little bit, but it was a good game. The kids competed and they obviously had a nice team over there.”
Even though they came up short against New Trier, the Kits certainly had a nice team as well, as they finished the season with an overall record of 25-12. “I thought they competed at a high level all year. Twenty-five wins and 13-3 in [Central Suburban League] Conference, I thought they competed really well and they had a big year,” said Coach Consiglio. “In fact, this was the second most regular season wins, I think, we have ever had. But 25 wins is nothing to sneeze at, so they did a nice job.”
The Coach continued, “There are a lot of positives. We are a young group; we have a real good mentality, which I like a lot. I also like the way these kids preserved themselves, and they do not back down and they are a really solid group. I am excited about next year, to bring back a lot of these guys, and hopefully do it all over again.”
If all goes according to plan, look for the Kits to be in position to battle for a Sectional title once again in 2018.