Jacobs' Graves goes deep for walkoff win over Cary-Grove
Cary-Grove's Sam Cohen and Jacobs' Brian Kobige owned the first six innings, matching zeros on the scoreboard and making life rough on hitters from both sides.
The seventh inning, however, belonged to Jacobs' Christian Graves.
First, Graves worked a scoreless top of the inning, striking out two. A few moments later, he ripped a walk-off grand slam to give the Golden Eagles a 6-2 victory in their Fox Valley Conference baseball game Thursday.
Cohen was in a difficult spot with the bases loaded and one out when Graves came up. With a full count, Graves got what he was looking for and sent a fastball over the left-field fence.
"I knew it was gone," Graves said. "I didn't really get a lot of fastballs all day, got a majority of off-speed. I was kind of sitting fastball, Sam's a great pitcher, looking fastball, adjust to the off-speed and put something in play at least.
"I was trying to put a ball deep. I was trying to move (Rudolph) in, hard-hit ball, hard play, just try to hit the ball hard somewhere."
Cohen, who had thrown only 38 pitches from the third through sixth innings, threw inside to Paulie Rudolph to start the inning and hit him. Rudolph stole second when Caden Guenther missed on a bunt attempt. Guenther's grounder to third base then moved Rudolph up to third.
C-G coach Ryan Passaglia put the force on with intentional walks to Anthony Edge and Keegan Connors.
"The kid took off and the batter missed the bunt and we didn't throw him out at second," Passaglia said. "Then the kid gets to third on the throw across the diamond. You have to load them up there. That was the best thing for our team to try to win in that situation."
Cohen, who allowed only four hits, had no room for error when the count went full.
"I'm just looking to throw strikes and never want to walk the last guy in," Cohen said. "So I had to give him my best, challenge him, good hitters make good plays. He's a great player. He can do it all. He pitched a great inning and got a big hit, have to give him credit."
Jacobs (12-8, 7-6) got a strong performance from Kobige, who struck out six, did not walk a batter and gave the Eagles' infielders plenty of groundball work.
"Cohen did a good job. I hadn't seen him pitch, I knew he was going to give everything he had on the mound," Eagles coach Jamie Murray said. "He was fantastic today. Kobige matched him. He was really good today, he gave us the innings we needed."
Jacobs scored two unearned runs in the first, then C-G (8-10, 5-6) tied the score on RBI singles from Toby Splitt and Jack Taczy in the third. Kobige and Cohen took over from there.
"Brian has some great stuff and he's an awesome kid," Graves said. "To come in and get the top of the inning for him meant a lot. Rollover after rollover. To come in and close that out for him and get the inning over with, I knew we were going to score."
Cohen said he just trusted his defense to make plays. Shortstop Dane Schuster made a diving grab and threw out a runner when a ball took a sideways hop on the infield and right fielder Vinny Lutz fired a strike to third to nip Joey Fiorenza on what looked like a perfect execution of a hit-and-run by Quinn Butera.
"I was just trusting my stuff," Cohen said. "The defense played a phenomenal game. My coach has been trusting me all season. There was a stretch where I wasn't pitching too well and he kept going to me. I can't thank him enough. My catcher (Nate Crick) called a great game as well."