BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot Broncos kept their season alive on Saturday as they dispatched with a pesky Rigby squad 5-4 in the play in game for the High Country Conference tournament which begins today.
"It's tough to play a team three times in a week and it's really tough to beat a team three times in the same week," Blackfoot head coach Kenny Dahle said. "We did just enough to get the win though and even though it wasn't pretty, we got the job done."
Playing into a stiff, cold wind the Broncos took a 1-0 lead in the home half of the second inning when Colby Pearson ripped a lead off double, advanced to third on the sacrifice bunt by Shawn Whitehead and then came racing home courtesy of an error on the Rigby third baseman on a hard hit ball by Justin Mathie.
Blackfoot added three more runs in the bottom of the third inning as Jaron Katseanes led off with a single which was followed by an opposite field single by Cody Averett. Cody Evans drove in Katseanes with a sacrifice fly ball to centerfield. Russel Osborn helped his own cause with a single which was followed by back-to-back doubles by Cole Mansanarez and Colby Pearson.
"I'm proud of these guys," Coach Dahle said. "We just need to go win two more games."
Rigby made a pitching change after the Pearson 2RBI double and it proved effective as the Blackfoot bats went cold over the next two innings of play, allowing the Trojans an opportunity to scratch away at the Blackfoot lead.
Rigby did that with single runs in the fourth and sixth innings and as the Broncos came to bat in the home half of the sixth, the lead was just 4-2.
Whitehead led off the inning with a single and was pinch run for by Jeremy Johnson. That move proved to be the right one when Colton Fairchild drove Johnson in from second base one batter later for what proved to be the eventual game winning RBI.
After a routine ground ball to open the top of the seventh inning Rigby were able to pick up a pair of singles prompting coach Dahle to make a pitching change as he brought in the hard throwing Pearson in relieve of Osborn who had pitched marvelously all afternoon long.
Pearson promptly walked the first two batters that he faced before inducing a ground ball to third which Dylan Mansanarez picked clean and got the second out at first base. Pearson then slammed the door on the uprising with an 83 mile per hour heater for the third strike on the next hitter to preserve the 5-4 victory for the Broncos.
"Russel threw really well today," Coach Dahle said. "When Colby comes in to the game in relief he sometimes likes to make it a little interesting but he's a competitor and he got the job done."
Blackfoot (13-9, 6-4) will take on top seeded Bonneville today at 2 P.M. at Melaleuca Field in the first round of the playoffs.
BLACKFOOT 5, RIGBY 4
Rigby 000 101 2 - 4 6 4
Blackfoot 013 001 x - 5 8 1
Rigby - Ty Cherry 1-4 R, Conner DaBell 2-3 RBI, Porter Marley 1-3 R, Ken Mickelson 1-3 R, Keegan Blart 1-2 R RBI; pitching - Taylor Anderson 2 1/3IP, 4R 6H 2K 0BB, Ryan Pinock (L) 3 1/3IP 1R 2H 4K 0BB.
Blackfoot - Russel Osborn 1-3 R, Cole Mansanarez 1-3 2B R, Colby Pearson 2-3 (2)2B 2RBI, Shawn Whitehead 1-2 R, Colton Fairchild 1-3 RBI, Jaron Kasteanes 1-2 R, Cody Averett 1-3; pitching - Russel Osborn (W) 6 1/3IP 4R 6H 6K 0BB 1HP; Colby Pearson 2/3IP 0R 0H 1K 2BB.