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BLACKFOOT â€” Blackfoot had a season sweep well within their grasp on Friday afternoon as they built a 5-1 lead over the first three innings of play.
Unfortunately the grip was tenuous as Hillcrest rallied for 7 unanswered runs to salvage the season split with an 8-5 win.
"You know there are high moments and low moments and for whatever reason after we got up 5-1 we just kind of sat back and though that that was enough," Blackfoot head coach Kenny Dahle said. "We need to develop that killer instinct and we just don't have it yet. Hopefully a game like this will help us learn and maybe next time we are in this position we will be able to put it away."
Blackfoot got on the board with a 3 run second inning, all of which were scored with 2 outs. Justin Mathie ignited the rally with a sharp single to right field, followed by a single by starting pitcher Shawn Whitehead. Jaron Katseanes loaded the bases ahead of a Colton Fairchild RBI single which tied the game at 1-1.
Zach Later followed with a 2RBI single and the Broncos were rolling.
That momentum spilled over into the third inning where Colby Pearson and Whitehead each came across to score but that lead was short lived as Hillcrest battled back for 4 runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 5-5.
"Hillcrest is a good team and against a good team you just can't let down," Coach Dahle said. "They did what they had to do to get back into the ball game."
Hillcrest eventually took the lead with a single run in the sixth inning and then extended that lead to three runs with a pair of runs in the seventh.
Blackfoot had their chance in the home half of the seventh to tie the game as they had the tying run at the plate with Cole Mansanarez and Cody Evans both in scoring position but unfortunately a strike out and a deep fly ball to left field put the finishing touches on the disappointing loss.
"It was a tough loss but I saw some good things today," Coach Dahle said. "I liked how we came out aggressive with good focus and I thought that Shawn, Cody and Colby each threw pretty well today."
Next action for Blackfoot (7-7, 1-3) will be a home date with Madison next Thursday.
HILLCREST 8, BLACKFOOT 5
Hillcrest 010 401 2 - 8 10 2
Blackfoot 032 000 0 - 5 9 2
Hillcrest - Nate Elliot 3-4 2B 2RBI, Tyler Clark 1-3 2RBI, Logan Tibbetts 1-4 2B, Easton Drake 1-3, Sade Rencher 2-4 2R, Lucas Barnes 2-3 2R; pitching - Ian Ence (W) 7IP 5R 9H 7K 0BB.
Blackfoot - Zach Later 1-4 2RBI, Russel Osborn 1-4, Colby Pearson 1-4, Cody Evans 2-4, Justin Mathie 2-4, Shawn Whitehead 1-3 2R; pitching - Shawn Whitehead 4IP 5R 6H 1K 5BB 1HP, Cody Evans (L) 2IP 1R 3H 1K 0BB 1HP, Colby Pearson 1IP 2R 2H 3K 1BB.