Softball: Jacobs blows out Crystal Lake South
Jacobs' hitters tried their best Monday to keep the ball out of the air against Crystal Lake South.
That plan of attack worked wonders for the Golden Eagles.
All nine batters in Jacobs' lineup collected at least one hit or scored one run, with the top four all getting multiple hits and runs. Jacobs finished with 15 hits, blowing the game open with a seven-run sixth inning to beat Crystal Lake South, 18-4, in their Fox Valley Conference game.
Jacobs snapped a two-game losing streak in conference play, including a 5-4 loss to Dundee-Crown on Thursday.
"Last time we played them, we went back and forth a little bit," Jacobs coach Katie O'Brien said. "Today, it came down to who was hitting, and our bats came alive. We were really focused on line drives and ground balls and staying away from balls in the air because the weather has been so crazy. Our girls executed today.
"They showed up with what we've been practicing. They put in the hard work, and it paid off today."
Leadoff hitter Liz Smith was 4 for 5 with four runs scored and two RBIs for Jacobs (8-8, 4-4 FVC), and Taylor Stennett was 3-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs and five runs. CiCi Di Silvio (3-for-5) had a hit in her first three at-bats, getting two doubles, four RBIs and two runs scored, while cleanup hitter Arya Patel added two hits and three RBIs.
Smith, a junior catcher, said she was looking to get the team off to a strong start Monday.
The Eagles scored multiple runs in every inning but one.
"When I'm at leadoff, I just want to get on base no matter how I do it," Smith said. "I'm just trying to get a hit, a walk or anything I can to get my team started. My approach for the game was to attack early. I think we did a good job of that."
Jacobs scored three runs in the top of the first, but the Gators (3-11, 0-8) came back with three runs in the bottom half to tie the game at 3-all. Kennedy Grippo and Alexis Pupillo had back-to-back hits, followed by a three-run homer to center field from No. 3 hitter Dana Skorich against Jacobs junior pitcher Caitlin Cook.
Cook settled down nicely after the first and gave up a run on two hits the rest of the way, striking out six and walking one. She retired nine straight batters between the third and sixth innings and struck out the final two batters after South loaded the bases with one out in the sixth.
Cook was appreciative of her team's offense, which provided her with plenty of run support throughout Monday's game. After the Gators tied the game in the first, the Eagles got three more runs in the top of the second, a double by Di Silvio scoring two of those runs.
"It's just a nice security blanket to have as a pitcher," Cook said. "You feel more open to use certain pitches so, it's just really nice. A lot of it today was just working inside and outside on the plate. The wind was tough and I knew spin wasn't going to be the best option. I just worked a lot with moving the fastball in and out."
Cook and Smith have a nice connection as pitcher and catcher.
"We've been playing together since Little League and we have a really strong connection," Cook said. "She's caught me in Little League, and we just get each other really well. She can read me a lot of the time without me saying anything."
Anna Cook had two RBIs for Jacobs, Kaitlyn Wysong had one RBI, and Jianna Tanada added a double and two runs scored. South was led by Skorich with a homer and three RBIs. Pupillo went 2 for 3 with two runs.
The Gators had a tough game defensively, committing six errors.
"They really just jumped on us," South coach Pat Kelly said. "They brought the bats today and we made [six] errors in the field. That's too many, you can't make that many errors and win a game. [Caitlin Cook] found the zone against us, and we were caught looking too many times.
"We've got to put the ball in play more and make them make some plays, and we didn't do that today."