Skoug's slam powers Libertyville into 4A title game

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Evan Skoug has the credentials, the season-long statistics, and a verbal commitment to a top-level national program. All the left-handed hitting junior needed was a crowning moment, his personal stamp on his – and Libertyville’s – whirlwind season.

He got it Friday night.

With Libertyville leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Skoug launched a taper-shot grand slam that propelled Libertyville to a 9-6 victory over St. Charles East in the Class 4A state semifinals at Silver Cross Field in Joliet.

Skoug’s blast to right field, which left the stadium and hit a parked truck, helped send the Wildcats (28-11-1) to the Class 4A state championship, where it will face No. 1 Mount Carmel for the school’s first state title.

“It’s just icing on the cake,” said Skoug of his eighth homer of the season. “I’m so blessed to be here. It’s a dream come true.”

Libertyville broke a scoreless tie in the third when it pushed two runs across without a hit. St. Charles East starting pitcher, left-hander Nick Huskisson, walked three – including one of the intentional variety to Skoug – hit Matt Vogt with the bases loaded for a run, and St. Charles East’s generally solid defense committed an error.

St. Charles East responded with a run in the top of the fourth on Isaac Nimick’s triple that scored Huskisson, who had singled.  St. Charles East trailed 2-1 going into the bottom half of the fourth.

Libertyville went back to work in the bottom half, started by a leadoff single by P.J. Neumann and a walk to Matt Reed. Sophomore shortstop Jimmy Govern, who went 3-for-3 on the day, then delivered a run-scoring double. After a fielder’s choice loaded up the bases, Skoug came to the plate with nowhere to put him.

In his first two at-bats, the Texas Christian University recruit was hit by a pitch (in the face, incidentally) and intentionally walked.

“The first time they walked me, it was a little frustrating,” said Skoug, who also had a single in the sixth, finishing 2-for-2 on the day. “I knew there was nowhere to put me.”

Skoug worked the at-bat, and with two strikes he hammered a curveball out of the park, giving Libertyville a 7-1 advantage.

St. Charles East coach Len Asquini said the scouting report was simple:

“We didn’t want him to beat us,” Asquini said. “I thought he hit a good pitch.”

St. Charles East made a push in the fifth, scoring four runs behind a two-run double by Brian Sobieski, but it was too little, too late.

Junior right-hander Jeff Barton (8-2) earned the victory, working 4 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and five runs with two strikeouts and no walks. Sophomore left-hander Mitchell Townsend pitched well in relief, yielding one run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings and got a crucial strikeout to end St. Charles East’s fifth-inning rally.

Now Libertyville will be playing for the state championship.

“You have to have some stuff go your way,” said Libertyville coach Jim Schurr. “It takes some breaks, and getting hot at the right time.”

Northwestern-bound outfielder Joe Hoscheit went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, and Nimick added two hits for St. Charles East.

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