Big 4th inning jolts Jacobs to title

CRYSTAL LAKE – For the first three innings of Saturday’s Class 4A Crystal Lake South Regional final against Barrington, Jacobs was painfully close to getting on the scoreboard as they left multiple runners on base.

In the fourth inning, however, the second-seeded Golden Eagles broke through in a big way with seven runs to put the game out of reach, winning their second straight regional title with a 7-2 victory over the top-seeded Broncos.

Jacobs (23-13) advances to Wednesday’s McHenry Sectional semifinal against Hononegah at 6:30 p.m. at Petersen Park.

Barrington got on the board in the third inning on a RBI groundout by Luke Johnson before Jacobs had an inning to remember, sending 11 hitters to the plate. Ryan Sargent and Jake Jemmi singled to lead off the inning and after a one-out walk to Daniel Tenayuca, Matt Kozlak coaxed a walk from losing pitcher Brad Powell to tie the game at 1.

After the Broncos went to the third pitcher of the inning, Ben Murray walked against Anthony Delaurentis to give Jacobs the lead for good at 2-1. Grant Kale added an RBI single and a fourth run scored on a fielder’s choice, which brought Tim Hubner to the plate.

Hubner stroked a two-run double into the left field corner to extend the Jacobs lead to 6-1 before Sargent became the sixth straight Jacobs hitter to get an RBI in the inning when he had an RBI single of his own to make it 7-1, which forced Barrington to bring in its fourth pitcher of the inning.

“That was huge,” Hubner said. “We didn’t have to worry anymore after that with a nice, comfortable lead and we could just finish out the game.”

After the big inning, it was smooth sailing for Jacobs starter Brenden Heiss, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and would give up just three hits for the whole day. Golden Eagles coach Jamie Murray said that the Jacobs rally just underscored how the team has played all season and allowed Heiss to relax on the mound.

“Ultimately, our kids did a great job today,” Murray said. “We had a whole lot of quality at-bats. We got down one but the players answered back and that is a testament to everything we’ve talked about all year.

"Whether we get up, we want to hold the momentum and we get down, we are going to get the momentum back. I couldn’t be happier as a coach and Brenden did an outstanding job pitching.”

It is a bit of déjà vu for Jacobs as the Golden Eagles beat Barrington in the regional final last season before defeating Hononegah in the sectional semifinal during their trip to the supersectionals in 2013.