BLACKFOOT — In a game that featured 8 different pitchers, 20 hits and a combined 25 runs, the Blackfoot Broncos came out on top as they came from behind to down Shelley 14-11 at Blackfoot High School on Thursday evening.
Russell Osborn took to the bump for the Broncos, squaring off with Braxton Ball as the rains lifted just in time for the beginning of the game.
Osborn quickly worked through a scoreless first inning while Blackfoot struck for a pair of first inning runs with two outs in the bottom half of the frame. Cody Evans drew a walk ahead of a RBI double off the bat of Colby Pearson for the games first run. Osborn then helped his own cause by trading places with Pearson with an RBI double down the right field line and the Broncos led 2-0.
Shelley answered with a run in the top of the second inning as Ball came home courtesy of an RBI ground out by Tyler Bean.
Blackfoot extended their lead to 7-1 with a 5 run second inning as the Broncos picked up a double by Jaron Katseanes and a 2RBI single by Justin Mathie in the frame.
That offensive production came to a screeching halt after that however as the Russets proceeded to outscore the Broncos 10-1 over the next four innings to take an 11-8 lead.
"It's kind of hard when you jump out to a big lead like that to keep your focus and we sort of relaxed, lost our focus both defensively and at the plate which let them back in the game," Blackfoot head coach Kenny Dahle said. "You have to credit Shelley though. They came out and hit the ball well which made us use five arms."
Over the middle innings Shelley scored 2 runs in the third, a run in the fourth and a six run fifth inning which witnessed 12 hitters stride to the plate while Blackfoot trotted a trio of pitchers to the mound in the frame.
Walks by Caleb Pack and T.J. Stommel ignited the uprising and moments later, Josh Peterson drove Pack home with an RBI single. Josh Guiterrez then wore a pitch to load the bases for Ball who quickly tallied two runs with a RBI single. Konner Gilstrap followed with a fine sacrifice bunt to place runners at second and third for Kaden Schmitt who scored Guiterrez with an RBI single. Ball followed Guiterrez home on a double steal one pitch later to make the score 9-8 Russets.
"A crazy game," Shelley head coach Yency Mora said. "I'm happy with respect of how our team swung the bat. I thought that it was a great effort and I was happy with how we came back after being down 7-1."
Two runs later the Russets still had the bases loaded with just one out as Blackfoot turned to Colby Pearson on the hill and Pearson came up aces as he induced a fly ball to right field which was caught by Katseanes. Katseanes then turned in the defensive play of the evening as he fired the ball to Cole Mansanarez for the put out at the plate to kill the rally with Shelley leading 10-8.
"What a play by Jaron," Coach Dahle said. "That throw sparked us defensively and also at the plate offensively."
Trailing by three entering the bottom of the sixth inning Blackfoot answered the bell with a six run inning of their own, all of which came with two outs in the inning. Shawn Whitehead had the big blow in the frame as he swatted a 2RBi double to score Pearson and Osborn. Blackfoot also took advantage of a pair of Shelley fielding miscues, their only errors of the night, as Blackfoot took the conference victory.
"The biggest lesson we should learn from tonight is that we need to play the entire seven innings," Coach Mora said. "It was tough conditions there at the end though with the wet ball and the wind. We'll be okay. We'll come try to come out on top tomorrow."
Shelley (4-10, 1-6) and Blackfoot (9-9, 3-4) will square off at Shelley High School today at 4:30 P.M.
BLACKFOOT 14, SHELLEY 11
Shelley 012 161 0 - 11 12 2
Blackfoot 250 106 x - 14 8 2
Shelley - T.J. Stommel 1-3 3R, Josh Peterson 2-4 3B 3RBI, Braxton Ball 3-4 3R 2B 2RBI, Kaden Schmitt 2-4 2B 3RBI, Caleb Pack 1-2 2B; pitching - Braxton Ball 4IP 8R 8ER 5H 4K 7BB 2HP, Sam Graham (L) 1 2/3IP 5R 2ER 3H 1BB, Kaden Schmitt 1/3IP 1R 0ER 0H 0K 0BB 1WP.
Blackfoot - Colby Pearson 2-2 3R 2B 2RBI, Russell Osborn 2-3 2B 2RBI, Justin Mathie 1-3 3RBI, Shawn Whitehead 1-3 2B 2RBI, Jaron Katseanes 2-3 2B 2R; pitching - Russell Osborn 4IP 4R 3ER 6H 1K 0BB, Cody Evans 0IP 3R 3ER 1H 2BB 1HP, Zach Later 1IP 3R 3ER 3H 1K 0BB, Jeremy Johnson 1/3IP 1R 1ER 2H 1K 1BB, Colby Pearson (W) 1 2/3IP 0R 0ER 0H 2K 0BB.