IONA — The Blackfoot Bronco American Legion squad took to the Bonneville High School baseball field for day one of the American Legion District Tournament on Thursday morning and at the end of a very long day on the diamond, Blackfoot came away with an unwanted split of the day as they knocked off the Skyline Grizzlies 7-3 in game one and then fell to the top seeded Burley Green Sox 3-0 in the afternoon match up.
"It wasn't what we wanted but overall I think that we represented ourselves pretty well," Blackfoot head coach Jeff Katseanes said. "Our pitchers came out aggressive, threw strikes and attacked hitters and I was happy with how they did today."
In game one, Blackfoot faced off with the fourth seed out of the Eastern division.
Blackfoot got on the board first with a 3 run third inning as Colton Fairchild reached base courtesy of an error on the Skyline third baseman to lead off the inning. One bater later, Zach Later lined a drive into the right centerfield gap for a RBI triple to get the men in green on the board.
Colby Pearson followed with an RBI single and then stole second base. An error advanced Pearson to third and in one of the gutsier calls of the season, coach Katseanes called for the steal and Pearson delivered with a steal of home for the 3-0 advantage.
Skyline bounced back for 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning but that was all the offense that they could muster for the remainder of the contest as starting pitcher Russell Osborn slammed the door, allowing just one hit over the final four innings of play.
Blackfoot regained the lead in the top of the sixth when Cole Mansanarez led off with a single and then scored later in the inning when he scampered home on a passed ball.
Blackfoot salted the game away with a 3 run seventh inning and once again it was Fairchild who ignited the rally as he roped a single to lead off the frame. Taylor Pearson entered the game as a pinch runner while Justin Mathie laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Pearson to second. One batter later Colby Pearson came through with a 2-out double to score his brother. Pearson scored on another Grizzly fielding miscue and Cody Evans capped the Blackfoot scoring with an RBI double one batter later.
"In that first game we just did everything well," Coach Katseanes said. "Our defense was solid and our hits were all timely. When you do things right good things happen and that is how that first game went for us."
The win advanced Blackfoot into the second round where they faced off with the top seeded Burley squad.
The game was a true pitchers duel as Colby Pearson squared off against soon to be Treasure Valley pitcher Joseph Ferrin. Both pitchers went the distance and both pitchers allowed just 4 hits apiece. Unfortunately, Burley was able to take advantage of a pair of Blackfoot fielding miscues in the home half of the first inning to plate 2 runs which proved to be more than enough for the win.
"We just came out really tight in the first inning," Coach Katseanes said. "Once we settled down though we played some really good ball. Burley is a good team though and that pitcher will be heading to Treasure Valley this year. Burley are an older team with more experience that us but I think that we held our own."
To advance to next weeks state tournament the Broncos will now have to maneuver their way through the bottom side of the bracket and they will begin that quest this morning when they face off against Kimberly at 9 A.M. at Hillcrest High School.
BLACKFOOT 7, SKYLINE 3
Blackfoot 003 001 3 - 7 8 1
Skyline 003 000 0 - 3 5 0
Blackfoot - Zach Later 1-4 3B, Colby Pearson 2-4 2B 2SB 2R, Cole Mansanarez 1-4 2R, Russell Osborn 1-3, Cody Evans 1-4 2B, Colton Fairchild 1-3 2R; pitching - Russell Osborn (W) 7IP 3R 6H 6K 1BB.
Skyline - Ty Cherry 2-3, Rick Oden 2-3, Jeff Tingey 1-3; pitching - Jeff Tingey (L) 7IP 7R 8H 2K 1BB.
BURLEY 3, BLACKFOOT 0
Blackfoot 000 000 0 - 0 4 4
Burley 200 001 x - 3 4 2
Blackfoot - Colby Pearson 1-2, Jaron Katseanes 1-3, Colton Fairchild 1-2, Justin Mathie 1-3; pitching - Colby Pearson (L) 6IP 3R 4H 6K 2BB.
Burley - Jason Boehmer 1-3, Jackson Kunz 1-3, Taylor Carson 1-3, Jack Derrington 1-3; pitching - Joseph Ferrin (W) 7IP 0R 4H 2K 2BB.