Chris Brown might turn out to be the ace of Evanston’s pitching staff before too long --- if he hasn’t already accomplished that goal.
The senior right-hander continued to show growth on the mound Wednesday as he tamed Glenbrook North with a 2-hitter and struck out 8 in a 3-0 shutout win over the Spartans.
Brown’s ability to regroup in adverse circumstances --- not to mention the fact that he had to deal with a home plate umpire who didn’t have a consistent strike zone --- provided the highlight in chilly conditions as the Wildkits got back on the winning track and evened their Central Suburban League South division record at 2-2 with the win.
Now 3-0 on the season, the hard-throwing righty lowered his earned run average under 2.00 with six shutout innings. He allowed just two singles, struck out 8 and walked 4 before letting Joe Epler mop up with a scoreless inning of relief.
He only experienced one difficult inning, when he issued back-to-back four-pitch walks and then hit the next batter with a pitch to fill the bases with one out in the third. But Brown reached back to whiff North cleanup hitter David Rubin on a check swing, then induced designated hitter Daniel Spencer to hit a routine grounder to first for the final out.
Evanston improved to 12-7 on the season overall and will face New Trier Thursday at Northwestern University in another conference matchup.
“That was the best pitching performance I’ve seen all year,” praised Evanston head coach Frank Consiglio. “You’re starting to see a lot more consistency out of Chris now. I didn’t feel GBN would touch him today --- and they didn’t. I haven’t seen a GBN team dominated like that before.
“There are two things involved when a pitcher has issues. One thing is when somebody else makes a mistake, and sometimes they get upset, but Chris has no issues when his teammates make a mistake. The other thing, where he gets bothered, is when he loses command of his pitches. But today you saw him make the adjustments he needed to make out there.
“You didn’t know for sure what pitch the umpire would call down (a strike) today, and you always stress to the pitchers that you want them to keep the ball down. Still, our pitchers dominated the game, and our hitters did just enough to win.”
Brown didn’t need much offense to work with Wednesday. The visitors struck for two runs in the second as first Fletcher Brown and then Jake Snider stroked RBI singles with two outs against Glenbrook North starter Evan Barnes.
The winners added an unearned run in the fourth. Brown was issued a one-out walk, and courtesy runner Joey Chafetz eventually came around to score when the Spartans committed a throwing error trying to turn an inning ending double play.
Junior Adam Geibel collected 3 more hits since coming off the disabled list for ETHS and is now 10-for-17 in the six games since he returned to action.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.