The Cary-Grove baseball team said enough is enough.
Having already absorbed two regular-season defeats against Jacobs with a regional semifinal matchup against the Golden Eagles looming next Thursday, the Trojans collected 11 hits against four Jacobs pitchers to win 10-3 in Algonquin on Wednesday.
The victory ended a 4-game slide that had dropped Cary-Grove (19-13, 12-7) from contention for a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title, and it dealt a major blow to Jacobs' hopes for its first title in the FVC.
"It was just important for our confidence," Cary-Grove coach Don Sutherland said of the victory. "Either way we'll come next week with the confidence to win. Kids in their mind sometimes have a doubt, but anyone can win a baseball game."
The loss dropped Jacobs (20-12, 13-5) a game behind Huntley in the FVC Valley standings with 1 suspended game left to finish for each team. Huntley (22-7-1, 14-4) defeated Dundee-Crown 10-2 on Wednesday to take sole possession of first place.
On Thursday, Huntley will conclude a suspended game with Crystal Lake South, tied 3-3 with the Red Raiders coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth.
Meanwhile, Jacobs will return to Dundee-Crown, where Tuesday's contest was halted by lightning with the scored tied 2-2 and the Golden Eagles coming to bat in the top of the ninth. Jacobs needs to take care of its business and hope for some help from CL South in order to split the title.
"Until they tell us we can't win a championship, we have to be ready to play," Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said. "Baseball is tough. It's hard because these guys have worked hard. It's a great group of seniors, and we want to go out as champions. No matter what happens they are champions, in my opinion."
The Trojans jumped on Jacobs starting pitcher Tim Hubner (5-2) right away. Tyler Perkins singled to left field and Andrew Splitt hammered a 2-run home run to center field one out later to put Cary-Grove ahead 2-0.
"It just takes a little spark, it takes a little confidence," Splitt said.
That confidence was evident in the top of the second. Though Jacobs had tied the game 2-2 on first-inning RBI singles from Matt Kozlak and Danny Vandewalker, the Trojans answered with a 5-run outburst, notable as much for RBI singles by Matt Sutherland and Splitt as it was for the 3 Jacobs errors and 2 wild pitches responsible for 5 unearned runs.
"We just didn't execute fundamentally," Murray said. "Defensively, we had some communication breakdowns on some stuff we've been talking about all year. The little things take care of the big things. I think that's the lesson for us going forward."
Seven runs were more than enough for Cary-Grove starting pitcher Dean Christakes (1-0), though the Trojans would later add 3 more. Making his first start since early in his junior season, Cary-Grove's normal shortstop allowed just 2 earned runs on 2 hits in an 87-pitch complete game. The senior walked 2, struck out 2 and benefitted from double plays turned by his infielders in the fifth and seventh innings.
"I'm just happy I could throw strikes," said Christakes, who got ahead of 22 of the 30 batters he faced. "Shortstop is a lot different from the mound. Everyone here was stress free. We came out and our bats worked, and that's the main thing. We got an early lead and that's always easy as a pitcher. The defense helped me out a lot and, luckily, they swung at some early pitches. Throwing strikes does that."