Prep Baseball Report

New Trier's Fox, Liepert shut out Taft to extend season

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

SKOKIE, Ill. – Taft and New Trier met in the Wilmette Sectional’s regional semifinal round on Thursday afternoon, and the Trevians were going to need to deal with the Eagles' ace Ernie Day (2020; uncommitted) if they wanted their season to last into the weekend.

As for Taft, they had to feel optimistic about upsetting a New Trier team that's enduring a down year – though, only when you compare it to the lofty standards set by legendary head coach Mike Napoleon. Their big junior righty is the No. 40-ranked prospect in the state and one of the top juniors still on the market.

New Trier opted to send Joe Fox (2019; uncommitted) to the mound, and he battled through some command issues but kept things scoreless in his three innings, working in and out of a couple Taft-made jams. For the first part of this ballgame, it was Taft that was on the attack.

While Day, too, had trouble getting into a groove, New Trier was struggling to sustain a rally long enough to get a run across home.

Finally, in the fourth, New Trier took advantage of a couple of Day walks which helped load the bases with nobody out. In the next at-bat, a sacrifice fly to right scored the game's first run and an errant throw allowed a second one to score, too. Next up, senior Henry Pelinski (Emory commit) was eager to tack on some more runs to the Trevians new lead. He laced a ball to the right-center gap, scoring another couple of runs, and Pelinski motored into third for a clutch triple.

For the final four frames, New Trier junior lefty Jack Liepert came on and puzzled Taft bats. He was really effective mixing in a running two-seam, dropping in big breaking ball for strikes, and getting Taft batters to swing over a fading changeup. The Eagles weren't able to get much going against Liepert, while New Trier tacked on an additional run in the top of the seventh to make it 5-0.

Down to their final three outs, Liepert struck out a couple in the seventh, including the final batter of the game to seal the win, sending them to Saturday's regional championship game (weather permitting) against Loyola Academy, back at host Niles North's baseball field.


+ RHP Joe Fox, New Trier: 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K
+ LHP Jack Liepert, New Trier: 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K
+ OF Henry Pelinski, New Trier: 2-for-2, 2 BB, 3B, 2 RBI

For more in-depth notes from this game - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog.