Evanston’s baseball team found a way to win — again — in front of the biggest crowd of the season today at ETHS.

The Wildkits celebrated Evanston Baseball/Softball Association Day by pushing across a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, enough to defeat Maine South 3-2 for their 8th consecutive victory.

Two perfectly executed bunts, a dropped fly ball and a passed ball combined for a winning formula for the Wildkits, who remained one game behind Glenbrook South in the Central Suburban League South division standings and improved to 18-5-1 overall.

As a team, the ETHS players have embraced head coach Frank Consiglio’s “Respect 7” philosophy, which emphasizes that the team competes hard for a full seven innings no matter what the score is.

That’s one lesson the players in the EBSA could benefit from if they paid close enough attention Wednesday.

“I’ve had that Respect 7 conversation with other teams I’ve coached, and nothing has come of it,” said Consiglio. “But this year every guy in that dugout keeps pushing hard. They’ve really bought into that Respect 7 mentality. We’re really competing at a high level now during this winning streak. Early on in the season when we’d get down, I didn’t see the kind of push from them that I’m seeing now. Like today, at no point in the game did they think they were going to lose it.

“I’ve told them already that I have fun watching them compete like this. There’s always a smile on my face in the dugout watching them.”

Held hitless by Evanston ace hurler Russell Snapp (7-1) over the first five innings, Maine South finally solved the right-hander for two walks and two hits to start the sixth. But because ETHS catcher Sam Evans gunned down leadoff hitter Steve Sakowicz attempting to steal, the Hawks only squeezed out one run on a sacrifice fly by Jarrett Gustafson to tie the score at 1-1. The hosts recorded the third out of the inning on that fly ball with a perfectly executed rundown that prevented further damage.

In the Evanston sixth, Justin Farrow lined a 3-1 pitch to center for a single and Charlie Maxwell dropped down a bunt single to start the game-winning rally. A bunt by cleanup hitter James Allen moved both runners along, and Farrow crossed when South right fielder Gustafson dropped a fly ball hit by Evans.

After an intentional walk to fill the bases, the Hawks retired Maxwell at the plate for the second out on a fielder’s choice. But the first pitch to Gill Hurtig eluded Maine South catcher Zach Parker, and pinch-runner Alex Galvin raced home with what turned out to be the winning run.

The loss was the sixth one-run defeat for Maine South, now 11-8 overall, this season. The visitors scored their only other run in the fourth on an error, a walk, a sacrifice bunt and an infield out.

Snapp struck out 3 and walked 3 in another distance performance on the mound.

“I really thought Russ didn’t have his best stuff today, because his off-speed pitches were up, and you can’t have that,” Consiglio said. “But even on a day where he didn’t have his best stuff, he only gave them 2 runs over 7 innings. We’ll take that any time. He still gave us a quality start today.”

Source: ETHS Sports Information

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