ALGONQUIN – While Jacobs was playing for the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title, Cary-Grove was just playing to try and feel better about itself.
The Trojans had been mired in a hitting funk and lost four of their past five FVC games, falling out of the race with division leaders Huntley and Jacobs.
C-G looked like a different team Wednesday.
Pitcher Dean Christakes was tough in his first start of the year, first baseman Andrew Splitt ripped a two-run home run in the first inning and the Trojans dropped Jacobs, 10-3, in their FVC Valley baseball game.
That loss leaves Jacobs (21-12 overall, 13-5 FVC Valley) one game behind Huntley (22-7-1, 14-4) with one remaining game. Huntley clinched a share of the division championship with a 9-2 victory over Dundee-Crown on Wednesday.
Both teams will finish games Thursday that had tied scores and were suspended Tuesday by lightning and thunder. Jacobs and D-C will resume their 2-2 game in the ninth inning at 4:15 p.m. in Carpentersville; Huntley will come to bat in the bottom of the sixth against Crystal Lake South in a 2-2 game at 4:30.
“Everyone here was stress-free, we lost the first game [to Jacobs Monday], but we were pretty confident in this game,” Christakes said. “We came out and our bats worked and got us the early lead. The defense helped me out a lot and luckily they swung at some early pitches.”
Christakes (1-0) will pitch and likely play outfield next year at NCAA Division III University of Chicago, but was making his first start since early last season. He allowed six hits, one earned run, struck out one and walked two on 88 pitches.
“Dean got strike 1, and your batting average goes down quite a bit when you’re down strike 1,” said Trojans coach Don Sutherland, whose team is 19-13, 12-7. “We haven’t seen a [division] win in a long, long, long time. We haven’t been able to hit and we got some runs early and it helped. Dean just did a great job on the mound.”
Jimmy Perkins singled in the first and Christakes flew out to right field, but Splitt, a left-handed hitter, hit a homer to left-center field for a 2-0 lead. Jacobs answered with two unearned runs in the first, but the Trojans took advantage of two Golden Eagles’ errors for five unearned runs in the second.
“It just takes a little spark, a little confidence,” Splitt said. “It seems like we’ve been that team that gets down 2-0 or 3-0. It felt nice to get up 2-0 and it gave us a lot of confidence.”
Jacobs now needs to beat D-C and have South beat Huntley to grab a share of its first FVC championship in school history.
“It was not a good day for us, we just didn’t play well,” Eagles coach Jamie Murray said. “We had a great opportunity. We just didn’t do a good job today. We have to get back tomorrow. Until they tell us we can’t win a championship, we have to be ready to play and win tomorrow. We just didn’t do the job we’re capable of doing.”