McHENRY – Jacobs pitcher Reilly Peltier started the game by plunking Hononegah’s first two hitters, but it was hardly an ominous beginning.
The next three batters better told what kind of a night it would be for Peltier and the Golden Eagles as he struck out the side.
“I wanted to make it more interesting,” said Peltier, laughing. “I was really excited about us being back in the sectional. It’s a great time and I just forgot what to focus on there at first.”
Peltier was tough after that, allowing only one hit and striking out 10 as the Golden Eagles defeated Hononegah, 7-1, in their Class 4A McHenry Sectional baseball game Wednesday night at Petersen Park. The victory puts Jacobs (25-13) into Saturday’s 11 a.m. championship game against Prairie Ridge (22-16).
Hononegah (24-12) got its only hit when leadoff man Sam Ballano lined a single up the middle in the fifth inning. Peltier threw 6 1/3 innings and had 113 pitches when he left.
“Reilly was awesome. He was amped up a little at first and he was nervous,” Eagles coach Jamie Murray said. “He’s a gamer. He wanted to give us a chance to get back to the sectional championship game.”
Murray thought Peltier was “effectively wild” with the hit batsmen and a few walks.
“They weren’t doing anything with his fastball, he was electric,” Murray said. “We just had him keep throwing fastballs, have them try to hit your No. 1 pitch.”
Matt Kozlak and Ben Murray set the tone early for Jacobs’ offense with a pair of singles in the first inning. The Eagles got a run off Northern Illinois-bound Donovin Sims in the first, then added an unearned run in the fourth. Kozlak ripped a solo home run to lead off the fifth.
“It felt good off the bat,” Kozlak said. “It was a fastball inside, just what I was looking for. [Sims] was leaving some pitches right where we wanted to hit it.”
That was more than enough for Peltier, who left after recording the first out of the seventh to a large ovation from Jacobs’ fans.
“I threw a lot of fastballs, my offspeed hasn’t been there lately,” Peltier said. “I was just trying to keep them off-balance with some good movement. I just kind of went with it and felt where the holes in their swings were.”
Jacobs put the game away in the bottom of the sixth with four unearned runs. The Eagles took advantage of the Indians’ two errors for five runs.
Hononegah has been to the sectional seven of the last eight years, but has not won a sectional title.
“Donovin battled well, we just couldn’t come up with the big hit to help him out,” Hononegah coach Matt Simpson said. “When you’re facing someone who throws hard, you have to have discipline at the plate. We weren’t able to get that knockout punch early when we had some runners on.”