BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot Broncos and the Snake River Panthers opened their 2012 softball season on Friday afternoon under a bright sunny sky and balmy temperatures for spring softball in Southeastern Idaho.
At the end of the day it was the visiting Panthers who emerged victorious as they held off a seventh inning rally by the Broncos for the 7-6 non-conference win.
"It was good to get outside and the weather was just amazing," Snake River head coach Kay Martin said. "It was a good game. A lot of fun. Erica did a good job of keeping the ball down and keeping them off balance."
Snake River drew first blood in the contest with a four run top of the third inning. Cassie Albertson got the inning started with a solid single and was sacrificed over to second with a picture perfect bunt by Katie Ogden. A Bronco fielding error and then a base on balls by Billie Gibson loaded the bases for the Panthers and they cashed in on the next batter when Erica Ramirez helped her own cause with a Texas League single to left field scoring Albertson. Kara Polatis followed with a parachute flare and an RBI which was followed one batter later by Chelsey Martin who lined a 2-RBI double for the 4-0 advantage.
"It worked out good for us," Coach Martin said. "We had a few seeing eye singles and then a few solid hits which all added up to some runs and we needed everyone of them."
The Panthers eventually built a 7-1 advantage after a three run top of the fifth before Blackfoot awaked at the plate.
Trailing in their season opener, Blackfoot settled down and started figuring out Snake River starter Erica Ramirez.
"We were chasing a lot of the low stuff," Blackfoot head coach Matt Chavez said. "I don't know if it was first game jitters or what but we were nervous and everyone was just so intense that it looked like we couldn't breath out there. Once we started to calm down we started doing what I know we can but you can't spot that many runs and expect to overcome that."
Blackfoot nearly did overcome that deficit in large part to the big bat of Mattison Chavez. Chavez was huge at the plate, finishing 3 for 4 with a double, triple and a line drive home run that ignited a 4 run seventh inning.
"That ball that Mattison Chavez hit was a blast," Coach Martin said.
After the seventh inning lead off homer by Chavez, Brielle Brower then reached base for the fourth time on the afternoon courtesy of a Snake River fielding miscue. Mariah Castandeda followed with a line drive double down the left field line to score Brower and then scored a batter later when Ally Smith drove her in with an RBI single.
"We came close to making it back," Coach Chavez said. "I thought that Jess pitched a great game. She left a couple pitches up and Snake River were there to do something with them. By the end of the game the girls were having a lot of fun though and really all I want from them this season is to be able to look back at this year and remember this as the greatest time of their lives."
Snake River (1-0) will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Soda Springs at 4 P.M while Blackfoot (0-1) will be off for a while, returning to the diamond on the 21st of March when they host Bonneville for a conference double-header.
SNAKE RIVER 7, BLACKFOOT 6
Snake River 040 030 0 - 7 7 3
Blackfoot 000 110 4 - 6 9 4
Snake River hitters - Kara Polatis 2-4 2B, Chelsey Martin 1-4 2B 2RBI, Cassie Albertson 2-4 2B RBI, Katie Ogden 1-3 2B RBI; pitching - Erica Ramirez (W) 7IP 6R 3ER 9H 3K 2BB.
Blackfoot hitters - Mattison Chavez 3-4 2B, 3B, HR RBI, Brielle Brower 2-2 RBI, Maria Castandeda 1-4 2B RBI; pitching - Jessica Capson (L) 7IP 7R 4ER 7H 5K 1BB.