The St. Charles East baseball team is in the game it wanted to be in and, even better, is handing the ball to the guy it wants on the mound.
Hard-throwing right-hander Matt Starai (9-1) is expected to be on the mound at the Rockford Aviators' stadium tonight when the Saints (26-11) meet Jacobs (25-11) in an IHSA Class 4A supersectional.
Starai is coming off one of his most dominating performances in a season with several to choose from, having thrown a three-hitter in Wednesday's sectional semifinal, a 6-0 Saints win against top-seeded Lake Park.
"We have a lot of confidence going in with our ace on the mound," East senior center fielder Anthony Sciarrino said.
Having scouted Jacobs, East coach Len Asquini came away seeing some similarities, offensively, between the Eagles and his team.
"Very scrappy team," Asquini said of Jacobs. "They might not come out and just kill the ball or anything but they do what they need to do to get their runs in."
Asquini thought Jacobs might counter Starai with Evan Blunk (4-3, 1.42 ERA), although Blunk threw 120 pitches on Thursday in the Eagles' 3-2, eight inning win against Rockton Hononegah. The Eagles then whipped Dundee-Crown, 9-0, in Saturday's Huntley Sectional final.
Tonight's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. but could start later since another 4A supersectional, Libertyville vs. Maine South, will be played on the same field, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of today's two supersectionals in Loves Park (just outside Rockford) will face off at 5 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal at Joliet's Silver Cross Field.