McHenry reminded Jacobs on Friday why the 21st and final out of a high school baseball game is often the hardest to get.
The Golden Eagles had a 5-run lead and were moments away from enjoying a festive postgame Senior Day celebration when the never-say-die Warriors again worked their seventh-inning comeback magic. They erupted for 5 runs -- 2 with two outs -- to tie the Fox Valley Conference contest, and they scored another in the eighth to prevail 8-7.
Comebacks are nothing new to gutty McHenry. The Warriors on Wednesday scored 5 runs in the top of the seventh to beat Huntley 8-5. On May 1, they rallied for 7 runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat Woodstock 8-7.
"They never think they're out of it no matter what," McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said of his players.
"We never give up," said winning pitcher Mikey Airdo, who celebrated his 17th birthday by earning the victory in 2 innings of relief of starter Cody Freund. "We just keep going at it."
It was the fourth straight loss for Jacobs (16-11, 10-4) overall and its third straight within the FVC Valley, knocking the Golden Eagles from their first-place perch for the first time this season.
Cary-Grove, by virtue of Friday's 15-5 win over Huntley, grabbed the outright Valley Division lead with an 11-3 record. Jacobs, McHenry and Huntley are tied for second at 10-4 with 5 games to play.
"Credit to them, they tied it up," Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said of McHenry's comeback. "We had some opportunities in the end. We just didn't together get the job done. That's tough because we've been battling some tough losses this week. We're starting to swing the bat a little bit. We're just not getting the pitching for 21 outs. We're getting it in spots."
Tim Hubner held the Warriors to 2 runs through six innings, but a windblown popup fell between him and three converging teammates in front of home plate to start the seventh, foreshadowing what followed.
The Warriors went on to score 5 runs in the inning on 5 hits and an error. Two runs were charged to Hubner, 3 to reliever Jake Jemmi, who took the loss. McHenry junior Jack Glosson stroked a 2-run single, Mike Borst's groundout drove in another run and Dylan Weston's RBI double cut the deficit to 7-6.
Robert Nagel then lined a single to center field. The ball was bobbled momentarily, which allowed courtesy runner Trevor Willemark to race home from second base with the tying run ahead of the throw.
McHenry (17-7) had runners at first and third with two outs in the eighth when Freund was jammed by a Jemmi pitch and sent a weak roller toward shortstop. Jacobs first baseman Ben Murray scooped the one-hopped throw from charging shortstop Matt Kozlak, but the umpire ruled Freund safe and the go-ahead run scored.
"I got jammed two or three times and that last one I thought was going back to the pitcher," Freund said. "These guys picked me up all day. I had to leg it out for them."
Jacobs put the winning run in scoring position with one out in the seventh but did not score. The Golden Eagles stranded runners at first and third in the eighth when Airdo used his curveball to notch a game-ending strikeout.
The teams resume conclude their 2-game series Saturday morning in McHenry.
"We'll be fine," Murray said of his team's 4-game slide. "We've played a lot of tough competition to prepare us for this. Our job is to come back out ready for McHenry (Saturday). We have to flush it, move on and be ready in the morning. One of our goals is to win conference and we're still right in the mix. We're not going to change from that until we're eliminated."