THOMAS — The Book of Isaiah in the Bible says, "And a child shall lead them." So it should be no surprise that when coach Jeff Katseanes turned to 14-year-old Dillon Manzanares as a relief pitcher in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against Snake River, he would come up aces for the Blackfoot Bronco Legion team.
"We expect big things out of Dillon and he will probably set some records in his time as a legion ballplayer," said Katseanes. "He is young, the youngest ball player that we have, but he is tough as nails and pitches very smart."
Manzanares entered the game in the fourth inning with the Broncos behind 8-2 and Snake River on a roll offensively. He got the two best hitters in the Panther lineup to pop up to second and, despite issuing walks to the next two hitters, struck out Trey Serr to end the inning.
"I came in and threw what my catcher told me to throw," said the soon-to-be freshman. "Cole and I throw a lot at home and I am real comfortable relying on his knowledge of the game to give me some guidance."
Cole is Dillon's big brother who jump started the Bronco offense with a towering home run to dead center to lead off the fifth inning. Four of the next five Bronco hitters scored and suddenly the Broncos were in the game, trailing 8-7 with a couple of innings to play.
"That home run by Cole really got our team fired up," said Katseanes. "We need him and Colby Pearson and Jaron Katseanes to be the leaders of this team because of all the youth that we have. When those three are hitting the ball like they can, we will not have any trouble scoring runs."
Neither team scored in the sixth inning, setting the stage for more heroics for young Mr. Manzanares.
Shad Lewis reached base on an error with one out in the Blackfoot seventh. He tied the score on a double by Russell Osborn, who then gave the Broncos the lead on a single by Coby Evans. With two outs, Manzanares then stroked a single down the third base line to score another Bronco run and a 10-8 lead.
"I work a lot with my dad and Cole on my hitting and the work definitely paid off today," said Dillon. "I got a fastball just inside and pulled it down the line. It was great to be able to help my team today."
Manzanares then went back to the mound and closed out the game to earn his first victory of the season.
"After losing the pair of games on Friday to a good Pocatello team, it was really important that we bounce back today," said Katseanes. "We came out early and worked on some fundamentals, but the kids really came to play and everyone contributed to the pair of wins."
The Broncos came out in the first game and got on the scoreboard early, plating three runs in the top of the first. They added runs in every inning but the second and seventh, holding off a Snake River rally late to win the game, 9-8. The Broncos collected a dozen hits in the contest and rode the pitching of Osborn and Jeremy Johnson to the victory.
"Russell and Jeremy pitched pretty well, despite coming back on only two days rest," said Katseanes. "Neither threw a lot of pitches on Wednesday, so we didn't hesitate to come right back with them today."
The key to the opening game win was the hitting of Blackfoot's 3-4-5 hitters, who went a combined 7-11 with six runs batted in.
"After the past couple of games, we really looked at the scorebook to see where we needed to boost our production and we made some line up changes for today," said Katseanes. "We really need those three leaders to drive in the runs for us to be successful."
The Broncos and Panthers will both be back in action today, with Blackfoot traveling to Skyline for a double dip and Snake River on the road at Bonneville for a doubleheader as well. Both team play at 4 and 6 p.m.
BLACKFOOT 9 SNAKE RIVER 8
Blackfoot 302 112 0 9 12 0
Snake River 111 030 2 8 11 2
Blackfoot pitching: Russell Osborn (W) 5IP 6R 6ER 9H 3K 1BB; Jeremy Johnson 2IP 2R 2ER 2H 3K 2BB 1HBP
Blackfoot hitting: Cole Manzanares 2-5 2B, Colby Pearson 2-4, Jaron Katseanes 3-4 2B, Russell Osborn 1-4, Colton Fairchild 2-4, Zack Leider 1-3, Shad Lewis 1-4
Snake River pitching: Kade Schmitt (L) 4IP 6R 6ER 8H 4K 5BB 1HBP; Cash Cardona 3IP 3R 1ER 4H 4BB 1HBP
Snake RIver hitting: Cash Cardona 2-4, Trey Serr 1-4, Travis Robertson 2-4 3B, Cody Dean 2-4, Carter Anderson 1-3, Brendan Finn 2-4, Jake Goodwin 1-3, Brett Parkinson 1-1
BLACKFOOT 10 SNAKE RIVER 8
Blackfoot 200 050 3 10 8 2
Snake River 404 000 0 8 11 4
Blackfoot pitching: Dallin Fairchild 3IP 8R 8ER 8H 3K 1BB; Dillon Manzanares (W)4IP 0R 0ER 3H 1K 3BB
Blackfoot hitting: Dillon Manzanares 1-5, Cole Manzanares 2-4 HR, Colby Pearson 1-5, Jaron Katseanes 1-2, Russell Osborn 1-2 2B, Cody Evans 2-2 3B
Snake River pitching: Shane Parkinson 3IP 2R 1ER 3H 5K 2BB 1HBP; Cody Dean 1.1IP 5R 4ER 1H 3K 2BB; Cash Cardona (L) 2.2IP 3R 3ER 3H 1K 1BB
Snake River hitting: Shane Parkinson 2-4, Travis Robertson 3-4 2-2B, Carter Anderson 2-3, Kaden Schmitt 1-2, Brendan Finn 2-4, Jake Goodwin 1-3