THOMAS — After a dreadful start the Snake River Panthers tried to mount a comeback on Wednesday evening but in the end came up short as they fell 13-8 to American Falls in the final home game of the seniors collective careers at Snake River High School.
A trio of fielding miscues in the first two innings proved costly indeed as American Falls took advantage of those with a collection of well hit balls as they scored 8 runs in the opening frames, 7 of those unearned.
"The game was decided in the first two innings when we made way too many errors leading to seven unearned runs and we just can't play that way or you'll get beat," Snake River head coach James Carter said. "You know, after those first two innings we came back and smoked them, we beat them for the rest of the game but you just can't give them that many runs in the first two innings and think that you are going to get a win."
Snake River settled down however as they began chipping away at the Beaver lead. Braden Watt opened the home half of the first inning like he has the entire season, with a sharp single. Two batters later, Watt trotted home as fellow senior Cody Dean swatted an RBI single.
In the bottom of the third inning Dean showed his considerable power to the hometown faithful as he crushed a Beaver offering over the fence for a 2-run dinger, pulling the Panthers to within 9-3. Cole Rushton then followed with a single and later scored when Jesse Vogler drove him in with a solid single.
"Hey, we'll learn from this, the kids showed a lot of heart in the way that they continued to battle for the whole game," coach Carter said. "We were able to get some big hits, Cody Dean hit a bomb which is good."
The rally continued into the home half of the fourth inning as the Panthers batted around, pounding out 5 hits while scoring 4 runs in the frame, the big blow a 2-RBI double off the bat of Candon Watt.
That was the last gasp offensively however for the Panthers as the Beavers chatted it up, eventually leading to the first conference loss for the Panthers on the season and a bitter pill for the six seniors to swallow.
"These guys were freshmen when I started coaching and it's been a lot for these kids," coach Carter said. "They've been through the program, they stuck it out and they all have just great attitudes, they work hard and they are great kids. It's been fun to watch them develop into a great team this year and every one of them have been a contributing member of this team."
Snake River (10-3, 3-1) will hit the road today for a non-conference tussle at Teton this afternoon at 4 P.M.
AMERICAN FALLS 13, SNAKE RIVER 8
AFHS 441 211 0 - 13 13 2
SRHS 103 400 0 - 8 14 4
American Falls hitters - J. Wageman 4-5 2B, M. Palacios 2-4 2B/3B, J. Schutt 4-5 3B, A. Underwood 2-3 2B; pitching - J. Wageman (W) 7IP 8R 7ER 14H 6K 1BB 1HP
Snake River hitters - Shane Parkinson 2-4 2B, Candon Watt 2-4 2B, Cody Dean 2-4 HR 3RBI, Keegan Keller 2-4, Jesse Vogler 2-3; pitching - Keegan Keller (L) 2/3IP 4R 0ER 4H 2K 1BB 1HP, Jesse Vogler 2 1/3IP 5R 3ER 4H 3K 2BB 1HP; Shane Parkinson 4IP 4R 3ER 5H 4K 1BB 3HP