Jacobs, North Stars primed for sectionalSt. Charles North's Annie Korth (center) greets Loren Cihlar (left) and Taylor Russell after they scored against Elgin. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 1, 2011 11:14PM
Jacobs is on the kind of roll that can take a team deep into the state tournament.
However, the obstacle facing the Golden Eagles when they start the Rockford Guilford Class 4A Sectional at 4:30 p.m. Thursday is exactly the kind that can prevent long postseason stands. The Golden Eagles play Fox Valley Conference rival Cary-Grove, the only team they’ve lost to in their last 14 games.
In fact, the Golden Eagles have lost three straight this season to Cary-Grove and bowed out of last year’s sectional finals with a loss to the Trojans.
“It’s a daunting task, and not a lot of people are giving us a fighting chance, but we’re going into it with the attitude that we can get it done,” Jacobs coach Jeremy Bauer said.
The Golden Eagles (21-11) didn’t get blown out in those three losses to the Trojans (29-1). They scored five runs the last game off Cary-Grove ace Lindsay Efflandt. Jacobs lost 6-2, 3-2, and 9-5 verdicts this year to Cary-Grove.
“We kind of held our own with them the first two, and they beat us with a home run in the sixth in the 3-2 loss,” Bauer said. “We need to keep their hitters off balance because they’ve hit us well. We’ve struggled by giving up the long ball to them.
“We also need to play error-free ball.”
Bauer’s team has ridden an offense that features hot hitting from Alyssa Locke (.476 batting average), Jenna Teson (.414) and Morehead State signee Kara Arceneaux (.400). Teson went 5-for-9 with three RBI, two runs and a triple in the regional.
Pitcher Marissa Lombardo (11-5) has split time successfully in the circle with Amber Livingston.
“We’ve just been getting a solid contribution from everybody,” Bauer said. “We haven’t lost since the 18th (of May) and I believe everyone on the roster thinks we’re capable of winning.
“We beat them last year in regular season and then it was Efflandt pitching against us. So we’re capable of doing it. We need a complete game — everything to come together.”
St. Charles North (28-3) needs a win over a 27-7 Leyden team Thursday to earn a shot at top sectional seed Elk Grove (32-4), the team that finished third in the state last year.
The Stars are vying for their first sectional title in history.
Beating Leyden pitcher Morgan Maize (24-4) won’t be easy. She threw a two-hitter at Conant in the regional finals. Possibly even bigger will be stopping Maize from hitting. She has 18 home runs and hit two to beat Conant.
“Those are crazy numbers,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “She’s going to be the one that we can’t let beat us. We have to make sure we’re pitching to her in situations that are advantageous to us, so she gets our best pitches in situations without people on base and with solid defense behind us.”
Leyden hasn’t been as consistently good as North and pitcher Amanda Ciran (20-1), who has lost only to Geneva this year. Less than a month ago, Leyden and Maize got 10-runned in a doubleheader twice by Trinity, 13-1, and 12-1. York and Hinsdale South also beat Leyden.
St. Charles North beat its two regional opponents by a combined 16-1 score as Sydney and Taylor Russell each have hit postseason home runs and Natalie Capone, Ashley Seering, Annie Korth, Emily Watts and Loren Cihlar have also wielded hot bats.
The biggest factor in the regional, though, was easily Ciran’s pitching. She got both victories, going the distance in each win.
“This group of girls was in sectional two years ago when we lost (2-1) to Bartlett, so they want to be the first to do this,” Poulin said. “It’s going to be difficult. I think this could be the most difficult sectional in the state with Elk Grove and West Chicago in it, too.”