THOMAS — Behind a game winning single by Cole Rushton and a complete game pitching gem by Cash Cardona the Snake River Panthers completed the season sweep of the defending 2A state champion Malad Dragons on Thursday evening with a 2-1 victory.
"Great pitching match up," Snake River head coach James Carter said. "This is the second game the Cash has pitched for us and the second great effort from him. He threw the crap out of it today and threw a lot of strikes. He did a great job of pitching ahead of the hitters which makes them hit the pitch he wants them to hit."
Cardona was indeed stellar on Thursday as he scattered 5 hits over his 7 innings of work. The lone blemish on his day was a solo home run from the Dragons biggest bat in the line up which tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth.
Cardona shook that set back off though as he mowed down the remainder of the Dragons for the rest of the game.
Malad had a great pitching performance of their own on Thursday as Brakin Gibbs struck out 11 Snake River Panthers while scattering 5 hits of his own in the losing effort.
Snake River was able to earn the victory with some good old fashioned small ball though as they manufactured a run in the bottom of the second with a passed ball, stolen base and then an RBI single.
Travis Robertson got the inning started when his heads up run down the first base line on a passed ball after a strike out ignited the mini uprising. Robertson stole second and then raced home ahead of the RBI single by Zane Stephenson.
"It was grind it out baseball and I loved it," Coach Carter said. "Travis did a great job of getting on base and then did what it took to come around and score."
Robertson also scored the game winner as he opened the bottom of the seventh inning with a line drive single to centerfield and later stole second base. Robertson advanced to third base after tagging on a fly ball to right field by Bret Parkinson. Stephenson followed with a safety squeeze bunt that he beat out for the infield single putting runners at first and third with two outs.
Cole Rushton then won the game two pitches later when he roped a single to right field for the 2-1 final.
"A great job by Cole," Coach Carter said. "I also thought that he made a key defensive play earlier in the game when he scooped the ball out at first which probably saved a run for us. A good win. Defensively we made no errors and we were able to grind it out."
Snake River (6-1) will host Blackfoot today for a double header with game one scheduled to begin at 3:30 P.M.
SNAKE RIVER 2, MALAD 1
Malad 000 010 0 - 1 5 0
Snake River 010 000 1 - 2 5 0
Malad - D. Blaisdell 1-4 2B, Gibbs 2-2 2B HR, Call 1-3, Dean 1-3; pitching - Gibbs (L) 6 1/3IP 2R 5H 11K 0BB
Snake River - Cardona 1-3, Robertson 1-3 (2)SB (2)R, Stephenson 2-3 RBI, Rushton 1-3 RBI; pitching - Cardona (W) 7IP 1R 5H 6K 5BB