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Wildkits set school record for wins in regional opener

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There was no drama associated with Evanston’s record baseball victory Wednesday in Park Ridge. The Wildkits simply lived up to their No. 1 sectional tournament seed and turned in another businesslike performance on their way to a record 26th victory this season.

Evanston slaughtered Lincoln Park 16-1 in five innings in the opening round of the Class 4A Maine South Regional tournament and moved to 26-7-1 on the year. They surpassed the 1981 and 1990 teams that each won 25 games in a single season.

Coach Frank Consiglio’s team capitalized on five Lincoln Park errors — along with four wild pitches, three passed balls and four hit batters by the losers — and advanced to the regional championship game on Saturday against the Maine South-Niles North winner.

“It’s special, because at the end of last year we talked about being a team that people would remember forever (after reaching the Elite Eight),” said senior catcher Sam Evans, who went 3-for-4 with 2 runs-batted-in Wednesday. “Now we’ve got the record. We’ve still got a ways to go, but our goal is to top last year.

“We knew we had the talent to be an even better team this year. When Dylan (pitcher Dylan Mulvihill) went down, we talked a lot about what are we gonna do now? We knew we still had the talent to carry on this run we’re on.”

“Now we can move forward and make that (record) number even bigger. Our job now is to make that number as big as possible, and make other (Wildkit) teams work even harder to get there,” said Consiglio.

“This team earned having our starting pitcher (James Allen) having to only throw 40 pitches today. They earned the fact that we were able to give (reliever) Zach Anderson some work. They earned the fact that everyone was able to get an at-bat today. Today was the only real advantage to earning that No. 1 seed. They earned that, and to top it all off, they made school history. That’s a big deal for all of us.”

“Now I can have my entire pitching staff (led by expected starter Russell Snapp) ready at any point on Saturday. I’ve never gone into a regional championship game with everyone available like this, and we put ourselves in a good position today.”

Lincoln Park, coached by former ETHS assistant coach Dusty Bensko, actually led 1-0 thanks to an unearned run scored by the Lions (12-21) after leadoff hitter Noel Rodriguez solved Allen for a double. But the senior right-hander only allowed two more harmless singles in his three-inning stint and boosted his won-loss record to 8-3 on the season, tied for the team lead for wins with Snapp.

Evanston sent 13 batters to the plate in a 9-run second inning, highlight by Evans’ bases-loaded single — his second hit of the inning — and an RBI single by Justin Farrow.

Charlie Maxwell tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the third, and the Kits put the 10-run slaughter rule into effect in the fourth, tallying 6 runs on 5 hits. Gill Hurtig and Evans hit two-baggers and Maxwell and Anderson contributed RBI singles to close out the victory.

Source: ETHS Sports Information

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