Talk to people about Libertyville catcher Evan Skoug and inevitably the words mature and leader will permeate the conversation.
Skoug has been starting on Libertyville’s varsity team since he enrolled in the school as a freshman and has grown into his team’s leader over the last four years.
“He gained immediate credibility and respect amongst the seniors just because of his skill set,” Wildcats coach Jim Schurr said of Skoug’s freshman year. “I think he realized what he meant to the program and what he could mean to those around him as well and he has just been a great leader.’’
Skoug gained immediate credibility as a freshman with his older teammates when Libertyville traveled to Miller Park in Milwaukee for a game and he hit two balls off of the wall.
The fact that it occurred at a major league field may be a harbinger for things to come for the senior. Skoug is committed to TCU in the fall but there is a chance he could be selected in the MLB draft as well.
Scouts have been following Skoug’s games and his practices with regularity this year. His decision to turn to the professional ranks or go to college will depend on where he is taken in the draft.
“I am being recruited as a catcher and that is where I want to play,” Skoug said. “The mental aspect of the game is where I have improved the most. I don’t let my emotions get the better of me.”
Power hitting catchers that hit for average, have great defensive skills and bat left-handed are high on many organizations’ wish lists.
His defensive game is equally strong to his offensive skill set. Most opposing teams put their running game on the back shelf when facing Skoug.
“He’s an unbelievable defensive catcher,” teammate Matt Reed said. “He is the best that I have ever played with or against. He has unbelievable arm strength. No one ever runs on him because they know they are going to get gunned out.’’
Skoug’s work ethic sets the standard for the rest of his teammates as he is described as the first person on the field and the last one off of it. He does various different kinds of workouts including weight training and yoga in addition to his weekly work with hitting and catching coaches.
“I would do a yoga class once a week just for flexibility,” Skoug said. “It is good to clear you head and it is relaxing.’’
Skoug and Reed are best friends off the field and the duo almost always find themselves in some sort of friendly competition including bowling, basketball and playing X-Box.
“He is very determined and focused on always doing his best,” Reed said. “He likes to bring out the best in everybody. Just physically and mentally, he has become the ultimate leader of our team.’’