Jacobs knows Hononegah ace Donovin Sims throws hard and is headed to Northern Illinois next year to pitch.
But other details about the Indians’ right-hander have been blurred in the year since the Golden Eagles last faced Sims.
The two teams meet in the Class 4A McHenry Sectional at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the second semifinal in the tournament, at Petersen Park. It’s a rematch of last year’s Huntley Sectional semifinal that ended with Jacobs putting together four consecutive bunts to score twice and win 3-2 in eight innings.
Prairie Ridge (21-16) and Huntley (26-7-1) meet in the 4 p.m. semifinal. The winners play at 11 a.m. Saturday in the sectional championship, with that winner advancing to the Rockford Aviators Supersectional on 6 p.m. Monday.
“[Sims] is real good and has a good fastball,” Jacobs first baseman Ben Murray said. “I don’t remember a lot. I assume we’ll see him. I’m sure if I was him, I’d want to see us again.”
Jacobs got some hits off Sims last year, but only scored once before he was lifted. The unusual finish came while Sims was playing first base.
Jacobs (24-11) won its first regional title in school history last year and advanced to the Rockford Aviators Supersectional, where it lost to St. Charles East. Now, the Eagles have back-to-back titles.
“It could [help us] because we’ve been there and know how it is,” Jacobs second baseman Grant Kale said. “We know how much pressure’s on and we’ve done it before. We need to keep the momentum going with our hitting. If we can keep hitting the ball, that’s going to win us the sectional.”
Jacobs coach Jamie Murray did not commit to a starter, although it likely would be Reilly Peltier or Ryan Sargent since sophomore Brenden Heiss threw in Saturday’s 7-2 victory over Barrington for the Crystal Lake South Regional championship.
“We played our best ball at the right time,” Jamie Murray said. “It’s exciting, but it’s the players who do it. As a head coach, my job is to get quality assistants and work hard with these guys. It was nice, especially for seniors like Ben Murray and Grant Kale. I’m really happy for them and the rest of them as well.”
Jacobs had a share of the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division slip away in the final week with a 10-3 loss to Cary-Grove, but the Eagles avenged that last week by beating C-G, 3-1, in their regional semifinal.
“We just grind it out a lot,” Ben Murray said. “We’ve had a lot of close games. We try to find the best teams out there and we have confidence we can face anybody and come out with a win.”
Jamie Murray likes that his team has seen pitchers like Maine South’s Bobby Pennington and Prospect’s Jordan Fedro, both who hit the high 80 mph with their fastballs. He hopes that will make Sims seem less daunting. Hononegah was Northern Illinois Conference-10 runner-up and has won seven regionals in eight years, but not a sectional in that stretch.
“We’re probably going to see the same kid, he’s got good velo,” Jamie Murray said. “It’s not going to be a surprise to us. We’ve seen quality arms all year. We expect to win, period, but we know it’s going to be a challenge.”