Technically, Jacobs was the visiting team, despite hosting the Class 4A softball regional. But despite batting first in every inning, the Golden Eagles made themselves right at home. They scored 8 times in the first two innings and cruised past top-seeded Cary-Grove, 10-3, Tuesday in Algonquin.
Freshman Emily Borg homered twice, doubled, and drove in 5 runs, fellow freshman Sarah Murray also homered, and Kelsey Peters shut the Trojans out through 6 innings for Jacobs, which will play in Saturday's 10 a.m. regional title game against Wednesday's DeKalb-Huntley winner. Jacobs advanced to the Elite Eight last season.
Borg doubled in 2 runs in the Eagles' 5-run first, then added a 2-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the seventh.
"I was really looking just to get a base hit, and it went over," said Borg. "We looked at it more as the pressure's on them as the higher seed, and we could just come out and have fun and play our hardest."
"She's a freshman, so she's sneaking up on a few people, but I don't think she's going to sneak up on many people any more," said Jacobs coach Jeremy Bauer of Borg. "She's got at least 6 or 7 home runs as a freshman."
Murray's solo shot over the fence in straightaway center got the Eagles (18-14) started. Borg's double scored Alyssa Lach and Courtney Contugno. McKenzie Vaughn added a 2-run single to complete the first-inning scoring off Cary-Grove senior Lindsay Efflandt, who was making her third appearance since returning from am April 22 line drive to the face.
"We just came out extremely loose, came out extremely relaxed, and just swung the bat," said Bauer. "We had some good hits, and another solid pitching performance, and some solid defense. At this time of year, that's all you need."
Fifth-seeded Jacobs, which has won 6 straight, struck again in the second. After back-to-back singles by Lach and Nicky Chapa, plus an error, scored a run, Borg launched a line drive over the left field fence.
Lauren Stanley took over on the mound for Cary-Grove (19-6) and restored order, but the Eagles were firmly in control.
Given the early lead, Peters cruised, retiring 11 in a row at one point.
"It's so good," said Peters of the early offensive support. "They definitely helped me out a lot."
Peters struck out only 1 batter, instead letting her defense do the work. And the Eagles responded. Lach turned in some gems at third base, starting 2 double plays before being ejected in the sixth inning for running over Cary-Grove catcher Sarah Leudo. By IHSA rule, Lach will be ineligible to play in the championship game Saturday.
The Trojans finally got on the board in the seventh, scoring 3 times. An RBI double by Erin Olson and a 2-run single by Caitlyn Adam were the big hits.
"We know Jacobs is a good hitting team, a good fielding team, and they've got a lot of speed," said Cary-Grove coach Tammy Olson. "We respect every team that we play and if you give them something, they'll definitely take it."