McHENRY – Jacobs’ situation hardly could have been more stressful, and pitcher Ryan Sargent could not have been more at ease.
Sargent took the mound Saturday at McHenry’s Petersen Park about 15 hours after the Golden Eagles had squandered a five-run lead in the seventh inning and lost to McHenry for their third consecutive Fox Valley Conference Valley Division loss.
The junior right-hander was in complete control all the way, striking out six, walking none and allowing one hit for a 5-1 Jacobs victory to keep the Eagles tied for a share of the FVC Valley lead with four remaining games.
“When I go to the mound, I just try to stay calm, not get too up or too down,” Sargent said. “Once we got up 2-0, I started to feel comfortable since we had a lead. I started to throw well and relax.”
Sargent’s shutdown effort kept Jacobs (17-11 overall, 11-4 FVC Valley) tied with Cary-Grove and Huntley atop the division standings. McHenry (17-8, 10-5) is a game behind. Jacobs bounced back from an 8-7 loss to McHenry on Friday in which the Warriors scored five times in the seventh to tie, then won in the top of the eighth.
“I’m proud of the whole team,” Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said. “Less than 18 hours after a crushing defeat, we came back. Our staff knows our players and their character. I told them we have a good pitcher on the mound [Saturday], we have a great team.”
Jacobs scored all the runs Sargent (2-1) needed in the second inning on Tim Hubner’s home run, and the Eagles scratched across an unearned run. McHenry scored in the third when Ryan Werner’s line drive hit took a crazy hop past center fielder Mike Addante for a triple. Cody Freund’s ground ball scored Werner, but that was all the Warriors could get off of Sargent.
“[Sargent] was really good, he kept us off-balance all day,” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said. “We made some plays defensively, we kept it close, we just couldn’t score.
Sargent got his plan to attack the Warriors from watching Friday’s game.
“We noticed they could really jump all over the fastball,” Sargent said. “I started them off with curveballs, and once I got that working and got in their heads, I could start mixing the fastball.”
Jacobs added three more runs in the top of the seventh for Sargent, who retired the last 12 batters he faced.
“We’re back in first place and beating McHenry after an awful loss yesterday gives us a little confidence to get rolling and come back from that slow stretch,” said Hubner, who was 2 for 2 with two RBIs. “It’s a big win for us.”