Barrington hangs around, pulls ahead late over No. 24 Jacobs

By Andy Sroka
Illinois and Wisconsin Assistant Director

BARRINGTON, IL – The Jacobs Golden Eagles (5-1) entered Saturday meeting lofty preseason expectations thus far, winning five of their first six, and their lone loss came against the top-ranked team in the state, St. Charles North. They visited Barrington (1-1) looking to continue this strong start, and came out hot in innings one and two, but the Broncos just managed to hang around and rally late to poach this win from their ranked visitors.

Jacobs called on junior RHP Nathan Chapman (uncommitted), who’s growing into his role as the team’s No. 1 option atop the rotation. Chapman was one of the winners across our winter showcase circuit, so we were eager to see him pitch in a live game setting, and Chapman did not disappoint.

He took the mound with a 3-0 lead by the bottom of the first, after Jacobs strung together some well-placed soft singles aided by some Broncos misplays. Chapman started the bottom of the first with back-to-back strikeouts, and he was a strike away from K’ing the side when 1B Logan Eisenbarth (2022; uncommitted) ripped a line-drive up the middle, waiting back on a hanging breaking ball. That two-out single sparked a rally that ended in a two-run base hit by J.D. Swarbrick (2022) to get Barrington back in the game quickly.

Chapman really settled in from there, as he struck out two more in the second and the side in the third. He was attacking the strike zone with mid-80s velocity, ranging from 83 mph to a couple 87s early. The fastball features some run and carry through the zone, from a unique slot and arm action that contributes to its deception. Chapman also has clear confidence in his curveball, and it flashed sharp action that earned swings and misses to both right- and left-handed hitters. He finished with 10 strikeouts, one walk, and scattered five hits without allowing much hard hit contact at all.

The Eagles’ offense benefited from another Barrington error in the second frame that built their lead to a 5-2 score, but the Jacobs bats were soon quieted by RHP Jake Kohanzo (2022; uncommitted). The sturdy, strong 6-foot-2 junior took over in the top of the fourth and did not allow a hit in his four innings of work, walking only two, and striking out four. We’ve seen Kohanzo’s arm strength in person, and it was on display on Saturday, sitting 85-87 mph with carry through the zone that Jacobs could not catch up to. His work-in-progress breaking ball featured depth off an 11/5 plane that he located well, well enough to induce weak contact and swings and misses.

The score stayed 5-2 until the bottom of the sixth with Chapman out of the game, and that’s when things unraveled for the Eagles. The first two batters reached and a wild pitch scored the Broncos’ third run. They stayed on Jacobs and loaded the bases with one down, and a walk earned by Eisenbarth – who took quality swings and at-bats all game – drew another run home. Bruno Pallan's (2022; uncommitted) third hit of the game was an inside-out single that he fended off the other way, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs, 6-5.

Jacobs battled in the seventh, though Swarbrick’s excellent backhand play to put out the first batter of the inning wound up making a meaningful difference, as the Eagles pushed a tying run to second soon after. But, a smooth 4-6-3 double play shut Jacobs down for good, capping the 6-5 Barrington victory.

For the Broncos, they’re now 2-1 with Fremd and Buffalo Grove on the horizon. Jacobs suffers its second loss of the year, still owning a quality 5-2 record headed into what will be a difficult trek through the Fox Valley, as always.