Jacobs pitcher Reilly Peltier was effectively wild early.
Then he was just plain effective.
Peltier beaned the first two Hononegah hitters he faced in a Class 4A McHenry sectional at Petersen Park Wednesday, but he quickly snuffed out that threat by striking out the next three hitters he faced, foreshadowing the rest of his 10-strikeout, 1-hit performance in a 7-1 victory.
"That wasn't exactly the way I wanted to start, but I've got great teammates backing me up," Peltier said after his 105-pitch outing. "I think it kind of scared them that I was a little wild."
"He will have a couple of those moments, but he's a competitor," Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said. "He had a great fastball that I thought he worked in and out. His slider was pretty good but unless they're going to hit your No. 1 (pitch), why throw anything else? He didn't need to really throw a changeup; they weren't really doing anything with his fastball."
The victory advances Jacobs (24-13) to a sectional final for the second straight season. The defending sectional champs will play Fox Valley Conference rival Prairie Ridge (22-16) for the title on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Wolves defeated FVC Valley champion Huntley 5-1 in Wednesday's first semifinal.
Hononegah (24-12) had runners at second and third with one out in the first inning, thanks to a wild pitch by Peltier (8-2) but could not capitalize. The Indians stranded 6 runners overall, 4 in scoring position.
"We had opportunities early and just were not able to come up with that one big hit," Hononegah coach Mike Miller said. "(Peltier) had some control problems early and his pitch count was getting up there. Had we gotten one big hit to make it a 2-0 game early on, I think it would have been a different game."
Meanwhile, Jacobs collected 11 hits against Northern Illinois recruit Donovin Sims (5-4), who took a no-decision last year against Jacobs in a sectional semifinal. The Golden Eagles greeted the right-hander with consecutive hits by Matt Kozlak and Ben Murray, and No. 3 hitter Grant Kale quickly made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Indians tied the game 1-1 in the top of the third inning when Peltier walked the leadoff hitter, who eventually scored on a two-out wild pitch.
The Golden Eagles regained the lead when designated hitter Jake Jemmi's bases-loaded bunt between Sims and the first baseman rolled for a hit, allowing Danny Vandewalker to score for a 2-1 lead.
"In practice we've been working on putting it first-base side," Jemmi said of his bunt. "Luck of the draw, I got it down."
Shortstop Matt Kozlak staked the Golden Eagles to a 3-1 lead when he smashed a leadoff home run over the 360-feet sign in left-center field, his second of the season.
Jacobs took complete control with a 4-run sixth inning, keyed by RBI singles from Owen Oreskovich and Grant Kale and Ben Murray's 2-run double down the left-field line.
Peltier got the first batter of the seventh inning to pop out meekly back to the mound before giving way to Jemmi, who notched a groundout and a strikeout to end the game.
The Golden Eagles now turn their attention to Prairie Ridge, a team that defeated them twice this year and has had their number in recent seasons.
"I've been here six years and we've never beat Prairie Ridge," Jamie Murray said. "I'm not putting any pressure on us; we don't believe in any pressure. We're going to face that challenge and be well prepared."