Jacobs upends Crystal Lake South
Jacobs closer Zac Camacho arrived at the intersection of Pressure Ave. and Jam Street and hit the gas.
Protecting a tenuous 1-run lead against league-leading Crystal Lake South in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs, Camacho put Tyler Salm in a 1-2 hole.
Salm, a .447 hitter, fought off two good pitches.
Camacho then reared back and notched his area-best fifth save of the season by getting Salm to swing through a fastball at the letters to preserve a 4-3 Jacobs victory.
"That was a tough spot," Camacho said. "I would have to say that's one of my favorite saves of the season just because of the rivalry and everything. It was an amazing game."
Camacho's escape job made Jacobs' sixth inning rally stand up. The Golden Eagles scored twice against CL South starting pitcher Zack Geib (7-3) on two-out singles by Max Rider and Greg Sidor to cap a comeback from a 3-0 deficit.
"Best win of the season," Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said.
The loss kept Crystal Lake South (24-9, 15-3) from clinching at least a tie for the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title. The Gators dropped into a tie for first place in the loss column with Prairie Ridge (22-6, 14-3), which defeated McHenry 3-2.
Cary-Grove (20-10, 13-4) slipped to third place by virtue of a 5-4 loss to Dundee-Crown. The Trojans play a 2-game series against Prairie Ridge Monday and Wednesday.
The Gators can still clinch at least a tie for the title with a victory in Monday's FVC finale against Grayslake Central (22-6, 15-1), the runaway champion of the FVC Fox Division.
"I just told our guys to stay positive," CL South coach Brian Bogda said afterward. "We've got another conference game Monday, and we've got to be ready for that one. We control our own fate. If get a win on Monday, we'll be fine."
The Gators had Jacobs starting pitcher Greg Mixon on the ropes early. Mixon was uncharacteristically wild in the first two innings, when he walked 4 and hit 2 batters. One of only six seniors on Jacobs' 24-man roster, Mixon worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the first inning. However, in the second inning he walked in 2 runs and plunked another Gator with the sacks full.
Mixon subsequently settled down to deliver 3 scoreless innings while his teammates rallied within a run, thanks to a 2-run third. Mark Self's RBI groundout and Camacho's sacrifice fly pulled the Golden Eagles within 3-2.
CL South saw a golden opportunity to add to the lead evaporate in an instant in the top of the sixth. Salm led off with a walk against reliever Evan Blunk and moved to third on Dom Winiecki's double. The Gators attempted to surprise Jacobs with the suicide squeeze with 2 strikes on Jordan Van Dyck and no outs, but Van Dyck struck out lunging to make contact with a low, outside pitch, and the runner was tagged out in a rundown. Blunk (5-2) induced a groundout to end the threat.
"That was huge," Murray said. "It was obviously a big momentum turner."
Camacho led off the Jacobs' sixth with a single and Kenny Finn drew a walk. Two outs later, Rider delivered the game-tying single to left-center field.
"I had the hit-and-run on, so I just tried to hit it to the left side," Rider said.
Sidor, the No. 7 hitter, followed with the go-ahead single to left field on a 1-0 pitch.
"I just wasn't mixing enough, so they were staying back on the curve ball and they were looking for it," Geib said "We just have to bounce back and win Monday."
The win on Senior Day snapped a 3-game losing streak for Jacobs, which lost to CL South Friday, 10-5. The two teams could meet again in two weeks at the Class 4A Huntley regional. CL South is the No. 1 seed, Jacobs No. 2.
"This is going to give us a lot of confidence going into our regional," Sidor said. "We're hitting our peak at the right time and we're playing good baseball."
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