Russel Snapp required just 75 pitches and 90 minutes to go the distance for Evanston’s baseball team today.
The temptation is overwhelming to call it a “snappy” victory.
Snapp turned in a distance performance on the mound with a 3-hitter and blanked Loyola Academy 1-0 in Evanston’s first home game since a spring break trip to Florida. The junior right-hander struck out four and only allowed one runner beyond first base in his most impressive outing to date.
Jackson Mihevc’s RBI single in the third inning was the lone ETHS hit, and provided the only run Snapp needed to improve to 3-0 on the mound this spring. Evanston moved to 9-2-1 overall while Loyola fell to 3-7.
It’s hard to imagine that the pitching staff was head coach Frank Consiglio’s biggest question mark coming into the season, the way underclassmen Snapp, James Allen and Dylan Mulvihill have performed in the rotation so far.
Snapp won 2 of his 3 starts for the varsity last year after dominating on the frosh-soph level along with Allen, and that taste of varsity competition is paying dividends this time around.
“I like to bring sophomores up at the end of the year, especially pitchers, to give them an idea of what it’s like at the next level,” Consiglio pointed out. “Now we have a very unique situation where the junior class is strong in the areas where we need them to be strong.
“I think last year really helped Russel out. He came into this year understanding that he had to make adjustments right away in a game. Believe me, I still think our pitchers are a work in progress. But after today Russel is further along and executing his pitches at a higher level than I thought he would. He’s ahead of where I thought he would be. I think he’s kinda the key to our staff, to tell you the truth, because I think he’s got the best stuff. Today, he showed that.”
Snapp’s ability to locate his curve ball underlined a quality start — and finish — by the junior.
“Today it felt like I was able to execute my secondary pitch (curve), and that’s not always there,” he said. “I really felt like I was in control the whole game today. Usually when I miss with my curve, I miss high, but today it was definitely there for me.
“Loyola has some very good hitters, especially at the top of the lineup, and I knew if I got ahead of them early I’d have much better success. I pitched better today than I did in my last start. No, I’m not really surprised that I’m off to a pretty good start. I got a little time on the varsity last year, and even though I struggled, it helped give me an idea of what to expect because it’s a pretty big jump from the sophomore team to the varsity.
“At the varsity level, you can’t just throw the ball down the middle. You need to be able to execute your secondary pitches.”
Snapp outdueled Loyola lefty Jackie Yalowitz, who struck out 6 and allowed only 2 walks and 1 hit. Yalowitz pitched out of a first-and-third, one out situation in the first inning (walk and an error) by getting Eli Otting to rap into an inning-ending double play.
In the ETHS third, Michael Pope battled Yalowitz for a two-out, full-count walk and then stole second. Mihevc lined a 3-2 pitch to right field for what turned out to be the game-winning blow, as Yalowitz faced only one batter over the minimum after that — due to an error.
Pope and shortstop Jack Blanchard both contributed defensive gems in the shutout effort. Pope made a diving catch on a sinking line drive in right field with two outs and a runner on first in the fifth inning. Prior to that play, Blanchard roamed into right center to grab a popup off the bat of Loyola’s Alex Thomas to keep trouble from brewing in the third.
Source: ETHS Sports Information