Down but never out.
As the clock began to run out on Evanston’s baseball season the bats finally came alive and created time for at least one more game.
Through the first five innings of Saturday’s game the Kits had been held scoreless and to only one hit by Fenwick hurler Joey Atkins.
But as Atkins started to tire, Evanston got better contact and eventually broke through in the bottom of the 6 inning.
Down 3-0, Fenwick scored one run in each of the first, second and sixth innings, The Kits started the home half of the sixth the way they had started many other innings, a strikeout by junior left fielder Chris Wolfe. Next up was pinch-hitter Nadav Sered-Schoenberg. After fighting off a few nice pitches from Atkins, Sered-Schoenberg found one he could handle and grounded it right back up the middle for the Kits second hit of the afternoon. Jake Snider then stepped to the plate but he couldn’t reach base leaving Sered-Schoenberg standing alone on the bases with two outs.
Senior catcher Fletcher Brown stepped in next and after spoiling good pitches from Atkins, the pitcher made his first bad mistake of the game. Atkins fired a fastball right down the middle and Brown didn’t miss it. He ripped a double down the left field line and Sered-Schoenberg held up at third base.
Adam Geibel followed Brown and didn’t squander his opportunity.
On a good pitch from Atkins, Geibel floated the ball into center field and the ball landed just in front of the Fenwick outfielder. As Geibel trotted to first, both Sered-Schoenberg and Brown came around to score. 3-2.
Sophomore first baseman Noah Lieb had a chance to tie it with a hit but he was retired for the third out.
In the top of the seventh, Fenwick had traffic on the bases once again as reliever Joe Elper hit Friars outfielder Jack Grace in the helmet to start the inning. Then Charles Wood reached on an error. Lucas Kolovitz was next and put the ball in play, the only play Evanston had was at first base. Kolovitz was retired but both runners advanced. Epler then walked Will Hendricks to load the bases with one out. An angry and visibly upset Epler regained his composure before Ken Slepicka stepped to the plate. He struck out. Then Tim La made the final out of the inning, no damage done.
In the bottom of the last inning Epler led off for Evanston, he hit a sharp ground ball but was thrown out at first for out number one.
Next was Harry Porter. He connected on another hard hit ground ball but this time the Fenwick Shortstop couldn’t field it cleanly. One on one out.
Pinch-hitter Sawyer Brown stepped up next. He hit the ball to the second baseman but it was slow enough that there was no play at second base, Brown was retired at first but Porter moved into scoring position.
Wolfe stepped into the box with a chance to tie the game at three apiece. Wolfe watched the first pitch go by for strike one, he was and missed at the next one. 0-2. The Fenwick reliever then tried and tried to make Wolfe chase a pitch out of the zone but he wouldn’t do it. He tried again no chase 2-2. Then the pitcher lost his control. Two more balls to Wolfe put him on first base.
Pinch-hitter Charlie Gruner followed Wolfe. With one strike on Gruner, the pitcher got wild once again. Walk. Bases loaded two outs. Jake Snider was up next but first came a meeting at the mound for Fenwick. This allowed head coach Frank Consiglio to talk to Snider before his at-bat.
“When Jake came up there I just told him to look for something and hard,” Consiglio told Evanston Now.
On the second pitch of the at-bat, Snider got just what he was expecting, a hard slider on the outside part of the plate. Snider flipped the ball into right field and it got down before anyone could get to it.
Porter and Wolfe both crossed home plate before the ball came back into the infield. 4-3 game over.
“That was easily the biggest hit of my career,” Snider said to a reporter from Evanston Now. “I just knew I had to put the ball in play and at least tie it up. I had my batting gloves and my helmet on right from the start of the inning, because I had a feeling it would come down to me.”
Consiglio knew that it was a special win, for the team of course but especially for his group of seniors.
““That was a special win,” Consiglio said. “What made it so special was not the way it happened or that we won a regional on our home field. This is a group of seniors who understand the program and helped create a family atmosphere here. It’s always special when you get a bunch of kids who love the game as much as you do.”