BLACKFOOT — A day removed from their first conference loss of the season, the Blackfoot Broncos took to the home diamond looking to split the season series with the Century Diamondbacks. Behind a complete game effort from starting pitcher Russel Osborn, the Broncos accomplished that feat as they avenged Thursday's loss with a tidy 3-1 win on Friday.
"Russel wanted the ball and he came out and got the job done today," Blackfoot head coach Kenny Dahle said. "He stayed ahead of hitters and just battled all day long."
Osborn was efficient in his seven innings of work, scattering 4 hits along the way while striking out 8, including three big strikeouts in the final frame.
Blackfoot took the early lead on the Diamondbacks as Cody Evans led off the bottom of the first inning with a sharp single back up the middle. Evans wasted little time as he then stole second for the first of his three stolen bases on the afternoon. Evans advanced to third on an error by the Century third baseman and scored moments later on a double play turned by the Diamondbacks.
"We were able to jump out on top which is much more like how we normally like to play," coach Dahle said. "We talked about it at our team lunch today that we just needed to relax and come out focused and ready to play and when you can get on top early it makes a big difference for the rest of the game."
Evans proved to be a catalyst once again in the bottom of the third inning as he once again led off with a single and a steal of second. After a walk by Dylan Mansanarez the Century pitcher balked the runners to second and third. One batter later Colby Pearson drove home Evans with a deep fly ball for a sacrifice fly and a 2-0 Blackfoot lead.
Blackfoot scored their third run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Dallon Fairchild was plunked with a pitch. Fairchild advanced to second on a throwing error by the Century catcher and advanced to third base on a ground out by Osborn. A wild pitch scored Fairchild later in the inning for the 3-0 lead.
"Offensively it still wasn't Blackfoot baseball but the little things at the plate that we are doing now are fixable," coach Dahle said. "It was good to get back on track after this little two game skid though."
Century was able to cut the deficit to 3-1 with a run in the top of the sixth and they were able to load the bases in the top of the seventh. Osborn recorded three strikeouts in the inning, including the final out of the night to slam the door on the potential comeback however as Blackfoot improves to 7-1 in the High Country Conference.
"With the win today we clinched at least the second seed but we want to get that number one seed," coach Dahle said. "We match up well with Bonneville and whenever we play each other it's a dog fight. I know that they will come out ready to play and so will we."
Blackfoot (13-6, 7-1) travel to Bonneville on Tuesday for the first game of the home and home before returning home on Wednesday for the regular season finale.
BLACKFOOT 3, CENTURY 1
Century 000 001 0 - 1 4 3
Blackfoot 101 100 x - 3 3 5
Century hitters - B. Parker 1-4 2B R, R. Leiby 1-3 RBI, J. Hoskins 1-3 SB, C. Moon 1-3. pitching - R. Nigh (L) 3 1/3IP 3R 2ER 2H 2K 4BB HP BK, B. Palmer 2 2/3IP 0R 0ER 1H 4K 2BB HP.
Blackfoot hitters - Cody Evans 2-3 2R 3SB, Dylan Mansanarez 1-2. pitching - Russel Osborn (W) 7IP 1R 1ER 4H 8K 2BB.