Wildkits finish off what Wolfe started on mound

Chris Wolfe never pitched in 2 games in 1 day.

And he never had to wait a full day to find out if he was the winning pitcher, either.

The Evanston senior made sure the Wildkits had something to show for a chaotic week on the schedule, firing shutout baseball for 5 and 2-3rds innings before the bullpen completed a 4-0 victory over Niles West Friday.

Wolfe’s pitching was definitely the highlight in a week in which the Kits needed 4 days to complete the home-and-home series with Niles West, and required 2 days to finish off a game against Glenbrook South. The completion of the second game versus the Wolves Friday required just one inning after darkness forced the teams to curtail scheduled games on both Tuesday and Thursday.

Wolfe, ironically, was the hard-luck loser in 10 innings when the Wolves pushed across an unearned run against him Thursday in his only inning of work on the mound. But the Wildkits bounced back from that tough 3-2 defeat behind the dominant mound work of the right-hander and earned their second Central Suburban League South division win of the spring.

Wolfe has only allowed 2 earned runs in 15-plus innings and picked up his second win against no losses. He struck out 8 after regrouping from the extra inning loss and starting Game 2 just minutes later on Thursday.

Chandler Stegen struck out the only batter he faced before the umpires called the game Thursday due to darkness, and Henry Eberhart was credited with the save after retiring 3 of the 4 Niles West hitters he faced to close out the win Friday.

“It’s been a weird week for us,” admitted the ETHS senior. “We played 5 days where we didn’t finish a game. I’d come home from those games and I really didn’t know how I felt. But I think we’ve started to figure things out and bring the energy we need. Still, it’s a little too early to say we’ve turned things around, even though today was a step in the right direction.”

Wolfe allowed a triple to the second batter he faced, West pitcher Kyle Gibson, then scattered 4 singles the rest of his mound stint. Catcher Eli Gingold picked a runner off first base and the Wildkit infield also turned a double play to back the senior right-hander.

“Yesterday when I came in (starting the continued contest), it was a do-or-die mindset and that was a different mindset for me. My approach to pitching was the same, but my mindset was different. I wanted to do everything I could in that situation to help my team win,” he said.

“I got into a little trouble the latter stages of the second game with my command when I got tired. But I just tried to throw a lot of strikes, and a lot of pitches that LOOK like strikes, just like I usually do.”

Connor Groff delivered run-scoring singles in the second (Thursday) and again in the seventh (Friday) and Tommy Barbato stole home to account for 3 of the ETHS runs. Wolfe helped his own cause by going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, single and a walk and a stolen base.

A two-out triple by Nolan Clarke when play resumed in the seventh Friday led to an insurance run when Groff lined a two-out single to right center on a 2-0 pitch.

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