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POCATELLO â€” The regular season champion Blackfoot Lady Broncos opened their conference tournament on Tuesday as they squared off with the Century Lady Diamondbacks at OK Ward Park. By games end, Blackfoot had advanced to today's title game as the bottom of the line up came through with 8 of the Lady Broncos 11 runs in a 11-3 victory.
"Huge, just huge," Blackfoot head coach Matt Chavez said of his lineup. "The girls came through with big hits when we needed them just like they have all year long. I think that this wasn't our best game this year but we did enough to get the job done."
It may not have been their best game of the year but when they needed it most, the Lady Broncos were clutch as they held the Lady Diamondbacks scoreless in three separate innings when they had the bases loaded for a total of 13 stranded base runners on the afternoon.
The first such instance was the top of the first inning as the first three Century hitters reached base off of starting pitcher Jessica Capson. Capson buckled down, enduring a pair of fielders choices at the plate to cut down lead runners and then struck out the Century hitter for the final out of the inning.
"It was really important, especially early on in the game," coach Chavez said. "You let a team score early and then their confidence begins to grow and the next thing you know they believe that they are in the game so to strand those runners was huge."
Blackfoot answered with a run in the bottom of the first inning with a bit of two out thunder when Morningrose Tobey drilled a two out single and scored on the next pitch when Madison Leslie drilled a single to centerfield that eluded the Diamondback fielder allowing Tobey to score all the way from first.
Blackfoot added 4 more runs in the second inning and then 5 more in the third to take a 10-0 advantage on Century. Capson was a key cog with a hit in each inning for 3RBI. Leslie added a 2 run single and as the bottom third of the line up tallied 7 runs in the two inning outburst. Malique Sandoval, Sami MacFee and Cassandra Clarke each scored twice.
"I'm telling you we are just so strong up and down the line up," coach Chavez said. "Century were playing so deep in this field. I really think that on a normal size field we would have hit three or four out, but up and down the line up we had great at bats."
Century rebounded with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to avoid the mercy rule shortened game, but Tobey entered in the top of the fifth in relief of Capson to slam the door on the would be rally with a pair of bases loaded situations in which no runners scored.
"We have two great pitchers and I have no problem bringing in either of them and we will use both again tomorrow," coach Chavez said.
Blackfoot will play for a district championship today when they face off with Pocatello, who topped Rigby in the late game, at OK Ward Park. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.
BLACKFOOT 11, CENTURY 3
Century 000 300 0 - 3 13 3
Blackfoot 145 001 x - 11 14 0
Century hitters - Yeates 3-3 RBI, Wells 3-4 RBI, Murillo 2-4, Horst 2-4. pitching - K. Yeates (L) 4IP 10R 8ER 11H 1K 3BB, J. Miller 2IP 1R 1ER 3H 0K 0BB.
Blackfoot hitters - J. Capson 2-4 2R 3RBI, M. Tobey 2-3 2RBI, M. Leslie 3-4 2RBI, A. Beers 2-4, C. Clarke 3-4 2B, S. MacFee 2-4 2R 2SB. pitching - J. Capson (W) 4IP 3R 3ER 7H 2K 3BB HP, M. Tobey 3IP 0R 0ER 4H 3K 0BB.