Eli Otting knows he can’t bat 1.000 for an entire high school baseball season.
But so far, so good for the Evanston senior.
Otting went 3-for-3 for the second game in a row as Evanston held on for a 7-5 victory over Notre Dame in see-your-breath cold conditions Wednesday in Wheeling.
The Wildkits, now 2-0, played the Dons on artificial turf in a new facility named Heritage Park in Wheeling. Evanston will play its home opener on Monday against Oak Park-River Forest.
By then, maybe someone will have figured out how to keep Otting off the bases. He has now reached base safely in seven straight trips to the plate, matching his 3-for-3 effort in a season-opening win over Prairie Ridge by stroking consecutive singles following a walk in his first at-bat Wednesday.
He’s been part of season-opening surge on offense for the Wildkits despite the frigid March temperatures. Evanston totaled 7 hits against three Dons pitchers, and every single ETHS player reached base at least once in the win.
ETHS head coach Frank Consiglio credited a quieter approach at the plate for the noise Otting has created so far on offense.
“Eli’s much more patient at the plate this year, and he has a much quieter spring,” the coach pointed out. “I think he realizes he’s strong enough that he really doesn’t need to do too much to still generate some power.
“I’m not surprised by the start he’s off to. He’s a gym rat, a baseball rat who really loves the game and has really worked to get better. I don’t know if I’ve ever coached anyone who loves the game more than he does.”
“I’ve been working on having quicker hands and getting them through the zone quicker. Coach always tells us that the team that puts the ball in play the most is the team that wins, and so far that’s translated for me,” Otting said. “I had a good summer and so I came into the season with a lot of confidence. Now I know exactly what I want to do. And our offense is so strong that every guy here can put the ball in play. As long as we’re doing that, we’ll be alright.”
Evanston put the leadoff runner on base in five straight innings while building a 7-1 advantage for junior starting pitcher Russel Snapp, who earned his first varsity win. Relievers Zach Anderson and James Allen surrendered four runs over the last three innings, only two of which were earned.
“Generally we win early in the season because of our small ball, but we didn’t really execute that well today,” Consiglio said. “This year we’ve just gone out and hit the ball. The last two games have been great that way.”
Designated hitter Joe Franke tripled home a run and then scored on a wild pitch as the Kits tallied two runs in the first inning. In the third, Jackson Mihevc’s leadoff single blossomed into a run thanks to a two-out line single to center by Otting.
Evanston pushed across three more runs in the fourth without a hit, thanks to four walks issued by Notre Dame reliever Adnan Sator and a two-out dropped popup. Marty Fenn’s sacrifice fly in the fifth plated Michael Pope with the final run.
Source: ETHS Sports Information