Payback is a very powerful sentiment, especially when redemption can come in such a short time frame.
Given a second crack at Montini in the 2012 IHSBCA Phil Lawler Summer Classic in just over a 72-hour span, Jacobs seized its opportunity against the Broncos by pulling away to a 4-2 victory Wednesday afternoon at Benedictine University.
Using a three-run fifth to grab momentum for one final time, the Golden Eagles took the lead for good to advance to Thursday’s second semifinal against Class 4A runner-up Lyons at 12:30 p.m. The title game is at 7 Thursday night in Lisle.
“It was so nice,” Jacobs junior first baseman Ben Murray said of his RBI double off Montini right-handed starter Sean Frontzak in the fifth, which tied the game 2-2. “I thought it was right at (Montini left fielder Rhett Wojkovich) but it ended up carrying over his head and it was a big spot in the game, too.”
Jacobs senior shortstop Kenny Finn immediately followed with a line shot RBI single to left-center off losing pitcher Frontzak, to plate Grant Kale with the eventual game-winning run before proceeding to come home later courtesy of a throwing error.
Stranding eight runners and at least one runner in each of the game’s first five innings proved too much for Montini — which lost 13-3 to St. Laurence on Wednesday morning to place itself into an elimination game — to overcome.
Earning a no-decision, Golden Eagles right-handed starter Reilly Peltier was effectively wild in his four innings of work, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits while walking three and hitting two batters.
But he stranded two runners in each of the first two innings by getting a strikeout to get out of trouble in both frames and Jacobs senior right-handed reliever Jake Jemmi allowed a single and a double to start the fifth, with Montini up 2-1 and threatening to break open the game.
But Jemmi bore down in getting three straight outs after the two consecutive hits to get out of the jam and eventually set the table for the Golden Eagles’ three-run fifth.
“Momentum’s everything. We had second and third, nobody out. I talked to my hitter (Manny Georgitsis). We want my guy to work the middle of the field, middle of the field,” Montini coach Eric Scott said. “But he hits it right down the third-base line with a guy on third and nobody out. Nothing you can do. We had first-and-third (with one out) and couldn’t get a run across.
“Jacobs is a good ballclub. They’ll give Lyons a tough time (Thursday). But it didn’t bounce our way (Wednesday).”
Avenging their 5-1 loss to the Broncos on Monday morning, the Golden Eagles earned their shot against the Lions, who have played in the last two Class 4A state title games, thanks to Jemmi’s exploits on the mound.
After the slow start in allowing the back-to-back hits to open the Montini fifth, Jemmi picked up the victory with three scoreless innings in relief of Peltier and retired the last eight he saw, including setting Montini down in order in both the sixth and seventh, the only two times all day Jacobs recorded a 1-2-3 inning.
“Jake Jemmi did a fantastic job coming out of the pen,” Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said. “That’s the first time he has pitched for us since the playoffs have started. We have a lot of guys who can throw. Some guys are missing.
“We’re using a lot of different people. I think the biggest challenge for us so far this summer is we have 34 kids, who we divided into two teams. Now it’s putting those pieces together.”