‘Expected:’ baseball fulfills high expectations for season

This year’s regional championship game may very well have been the craziest match-up in ETHS boys baseball history, consisting of 11 innings, three ejections, and a walk-off single.

Things tensed up early in the 1st inning when senior pitcher Hank Liss let up two hits, including RBI Double, and failed to strike out even a single batter. But aside from that, it was smooth sailing for Liss on the mound that day. He struck out seven batters and only allowed two additional hits before being pulled in the 4th.

E-Town tied things up in the bottom of the second after Class of 2022 senior Ben Gutowski started things off with a lead-off walk, advanced to third when junior Eron Vega doubled, and scored thanks to a sacrifice fly from Class of 2022 senior Heath Ballard. From there on out, the game was tied 1-1 for the next nine innings; high school baseball games are only supposed to last seven.

The closest either team came to scoring before extra innings happened when Prospect managed two runners in scoring position with just one out in the top of the 4th. But in the end, nothing came of it, just like nothing came of either team’s offense almost all game. That was, until, junior Charlie Kalil broke it open with a single in the 11th.

Once Kalil was on first, he quickly advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt and was joined by Liss on the basepath when he was intentionally walked. Now up to bat was senior Sam Sheikh. The very first pitch Sheikh saw, he singled on a line drive to left. Kalil rounded third as the ball touched the ground, and charged toward home at lightning speed. After four extra innings, the game had finally been brought to a close. For the second year in a row, ETHS boys baseball were crowned Regional champions. 

“We expected to win the regional,” says Sheikh. “We had high expectations as a team last year.”

Although Evanston dropped its next game, the Sectional semifinal, 5-0 against Loyola, bringing back a championship plaque for the trophy case means that expectations were most definitely met this year. And with all but three of E-Town’s starters returning for next season, the sky is truly the limit for what might be accomplished this year.