Evanston Township High School’s baseball team seemed to take a step backward Wednesday in Glenview.

Hank Liss pitches Wednesday, April 26, against Glenbrook South. The Wildkits won the back-and-forth contest 10-8. Credit: Mark Brokowski

Mound ace Hank Liss couldn’t locate his pitches and the entire staff recorded a season-low 44% first pitch strike rate.

The Kits committed three errors and two were picked off first base.

But somehow through the carnage, Evanston found a way to win.

The Wildkits stretched their winning string to 10 games in a row by clipping Glenbrook South 10-8 in a game neither team deserved to win – or lose. A five-run rally in the top of the seventh inning, as darkness approached, lifted the Kits to 18-2 on the season and kept them atop the Central Suburban League South division standings with a 6-0 record.

The two teams meet again Thursday at Evanston.

Pinch-hit singles by Dylan Denlow and Noah Cryns highlighted that late rally and led to the game-winning blow by Sam Sheikh, and then the visitors held on behind reliever Braden Grimm. The junior righty retired South’s Jacque Gariepy on a two-hop grounder back to the mound with a runner on base to clinch the wild victory for the Wildkits.

Wildkit Braden Grimm bats Wednesday in Glenbrook. On defense, Grimm came on the mound as the reliever to get the final out of the sixth inning and pitched the seventh as well. Credit: Mark Brokowski

Every winning streak – and every championship run – features at least one game like Wednesday’s.

“I’m proud of them for finding a way to win,” said Evanston head coach Frank Consiglio. “We did a lot of things that are uncharacteristic of us as a team ,and both teams left a lot of plays out on the field. We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, but good teams need to learn how to win when they’re not at their best.

“We didn’t do anything well today except for one thing – with our bats. We’re fortunate that we were locked in enough to overwhelm them at the plate.”

The back-and-forth contest featured five lead changes before it ended in Evanston’s favor. The winners out-hit GBS 15-7 behind Liss (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Charlie Kalil (3-for-4, 2 RBI). 

Charlie Kalil bats Wednesday against Glenbrook South. Kalil went 3 for 4 in the game, with two runs batted in. Credit: Mark Brokowski

Kalil’s third hit of the contest, a one-out single in the seventh, set the stage for the winning rally after shortstop Grimm’s throwing error opened the door for GBS to claim the lead at 6-5 with just three outs to go.

Denlow lined a pinch-hit single to right center, Cryns came off the bench to single to left, and Grimm drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch from South left-hander Aidan Splear to fill the bases. That brought up the left-handed hitting Sheikh, who beat the percentages by lashing a hit to right that fell just in front of GBS outfielder John Whalen.

Jared Lortie prepares for a catch at first base Wednesday against Glenbrook South. Credit: Mark Brokowski

South second baseman Alex Yoon, with the infield drawn in, grabbed Brandon Brokowski’s bouncer up the middle but threw wildly to first and two more ETHS runs crossed. Liss whacked a sacrifice fly that plated another insurance run that pushed Evanston’s lead to 10-6 before Splear finally retired the side.

Grimm, who came on to the mound to get the final out of the sixth, walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh and they both scored when the No. 8 hitter in the Titans’ lineup, Ryan Flentye, rapped a two-run single off the glove of third baseman Eron Vega. But Grimm only required two more pitches to end the marathon.

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *