Winnetka, Sports

Dominant pitching and pesky offense on display again as Trevians win 19th straight

Any double-digit win streak is bound to catch the attention of your opponents. But when you’ve reeled off nearly 20 straight, you may as well have a target on your back.

Yet, that hasn’t made much of a difference at all for teams trying to knock off New Trier. 

The Trevians notched their 19 straight victory on Wednesday, May 9, besting the Deerfield Warriors 11-3 at Duke Childs Field, in Winnetka. The win gives New Trier a perfect 12-0 record in the Central Suburban League and a superb 22-3 overall mark. 

“We are tough outs up and down the lineup, we run the bases extremely well, we play very good defense and we have been getting great pitching,” New Trier head coach Mike Napoleon said. “You put that together with anything and you’re going to win games.” 

The Trevians’ strong play in all facets of the game has fueled the team’s notable run, but New Trier’s superlative pitching staff is at the heart of its success. 

Everybody is after us, everybody is going to have their A game going and we have to compete every single play in each game.” Mike Napoleon, New Trier baseball coach on his team’s winning streak

The Trevs have allowed just nine runs in their last eight games, and their run prevention excellence continued again against Deerfield. 

Senior left-hander Max Kaplan twirled yet another strong performance on the mound for New Trier. Kaplan held the Warriors to two runs, only one of which was earned, while surrendering just three hits. He struck out six Deerfield batters while walking three. 

New Trier’s ace battled through inconsistent control of his full arsenal early on, but after a few Warriors reached base in the opening innings, Kaplan found his rhythm on the mound to silence Deerfield’s bats through the middle frames. 

I think I got a little angry, actually,” Kaplan said. “Sometimes anger is good. … It was getting a little chippy between dugouts, so I think that (emotion) was good and it motivated me.”  

A key part in New Trier’s memorable third-place run in last year’s state playoffs, Kaplan is back anchoring the Trevs’ rotation this season. 

“He’s got to be one of the more competitive kids in the school, not just on the team, but the school,” Napoleon said of the Trevians starter. “He just competes and that’s what you want. He’s a great fielder; he’s an athlete that pitches, and when you have that combination on the mound, and you throw strikes … you’re going to win some games.”

Joining Kaplan as stellar arms in the Trevs’ rotation this season are seniors Justin Wood, Noah Shapo and Wyatt Nelson. The team’s high-quality hurlers up and down the roster as well as the staff’s depth “have really kept (New Trier) in games” all year, Napoleon said.  

Aidan Nolan, who stole three bases in the win, at bat for New Trier.

It was a balanced offensive attack for New Trier on Wednesday, as four Trevs recorded two hits. Senior shortstop James Novakovic had a big afternoon, smacking two hits, walking two times, scoring three runs and driving in four runs. 

Seniors Evan Olesker and Max Miller and junior Ben Toft also each had a pair of hits. Both Toft and Miller reached base four times (2 hits, 2 walks) each while Olesker drove in two runs. 

New Trier was incredibly active on the basepaths, stealing 11 bases throughout the game. Senior Aidan Nolan swiped three bags while both Olesker and Toft stole a pair apiece.

Napoleon credited the Trevs’ aggressive approach on the bases as an added reason for their prolonged run of success this campaign. 

“Our baserunning has been huge,” he said. “We have a lot of speed in our lineup. We have guys that have good baseball instincts and I think that’s how you get to be a good baserunning team — just great instincts.” 

With the departure of a few heart-of-the-order power bats who fueled last year’s team, the Trevians have taken on a different offensive approach this season, swapping some of the slugging from the 2023 club for batting average, speed and minimal strikeouts. 

“It’s been really cool to see the difference offensively,” Kaplan said. “I think last year you had the big bats … but I think this year, we’re a pitcher’s nightmare. We just annoy the heck out of all (opposing pitchers) and we try to limit our strikeouts, so I think that’s really good.” 

While New Trier’s on-field play has kept the wins coming, Kaplan also believes the team’s chemistry is an integral part of its success. 

“We’re a family,” Kaplan said. “I’d go to war with these boys any day of the week, so it’s really nice to be winning, but I think our hard work in the offseason and just bonding together has given us a big push.” 

As the Trevs approach the final stretch of the regular season, the club knows their good fortune will bring out the best in their upcoming opponents. But, they plan on using that sentiment as a way to stay locked in. 

“Everybody is after us, everybody is going to have their A game going and we have to compete every single play in each game, and if you do that, we’re going to be on top most games,” Napoleon said of his message to the team.

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martin carlino
Martin Carlino

Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.

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