PEORIA — Gibault senior designated hitter Ian Metcalf did not hold back.
His choice words were meant for his teammates to hear - and no one else. Not even coach Andy Skaer.
"I don't know what he said," Gibault coach Andy Skaer said.
Metcalf's between-inning verbal assault may not have been for a family audience.
But it worked.
Gibault scored six times in the third inning en route to a 12-4 win over Steeleville in the Class 1A state semifinal game at Dozer Park on Friday afternoon.
"There were some words that I'll leave out, but he said that if we just play our game and keep battling, finding our pitches and working the pitcher in deep counts, we'd end up on top," Gibault senior Austin Sweeney said. "That's what we did."
Gibault (27-8) will face Ottawa Marquette (32-1) at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the state championship game. Ottawa beat Harvest Christian Academy 10-8 on Friday morning.
The Hawks return to the title contest for the first time since winning the crown in 2013.
Steeleville led 2-0 at the time of Metcalf's eruption.
Skaer had some heated words of his own with the umpire in the bottom half of the second after a call went against the Hawks. His outburst also helped fuel the rally.
"It was a great motivator," Gibault starting pitcher Nick Weilbacher said.
Skaer borrowed a saying from a rival coach to help calm his team down.
"I may have stolen this from Waterloo coach Mark Vogel - 'Do you have to have every call go your way to win a ball game?'" Skaer said. "We try to have the mindset that we can only worry about what we can control. I've talked about that for the last 15 years. I think that trickles down from me to assistant coaches to players and to the fans that you can't worry about those things."
The first six Hawks reached base in the third as they jumped in front to stay 6-2.
"Momentum changing is a big difference in the game," Steeleville coach John Sutton said. "Any time you put up runs, the best thing you can do is to go out and keep the other team from scoring and we didn't do that."
Gibault tallied twice in the fifth and four more times in the sixth to take control.
Cameron Kincheloe led the way with four RBI - three on a three-run double in the sixth inning. Sweeney went 2-for-5 with two RBI. Tate Schilling went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
The Hawks also took advantage of nine walks and two Steeleville (23-6) errors.
"We definitely made our mistakes," Sutton said. "We had some errors and walked too many batters and that's going to hurt you in a high school baseball game."
Weilbacher picked up his fourth win of the season. He went struck out eight and gave up four earned runs on five hits over four innings. Tim Reinholtz and Mitch Nolan combined for the final three scoreless innings.
"We like our bullpen and think we have some depth," Skaer said. "They threw strikes and got outs when we got the lead."