BOISE – Trailing 2-1 entering the top of the seventh inning the Blackfoot Broncos came through with a pair of runs on a gutsy call by Blackfoot skipper Kenny Dahle to take a 3-2 consolation championship game victory from the Twin Falls Bruins on Saturday morning.
“It was just awesome to come here and watch these kids battle the way that they did,” Blackfoot head coach Kenny Dahle said. “It is just huge for our program because now we know that we can compete at this level. We battled a full seven innings today and yesterday and you just have to be so proud of each one of these kids. Not one of them quit and they could have after not one but two questionable calls, one I can say blatantly horrible call. Regardless we just got them settled down, my assistant coaches settled me down and we got it done.”
The call in question came in the bottom of the fourth inning when a double play by the Broncos led to a run for the Bruins. On the play the bases were loaded with one out. A long fly ball to right field was caught by Shad Lewis who gunned the ball plateward in an attempt to gun down the tagging runner from third. The runner at second was already nearing third base when the catch was made and Blackfoot threw the ball back to second for the force out of the non-tagging runner. After a conference between the umpires, they ruled that the third out had been made but that the run counted, much to the chagrin of the Blackfoot faithful.
Twin Falls scored their second run in the bottom of the sixth inning following another controversial call when Blackfoot starting pitcher Dillon Mansanarez had apparently picked off the Bruin base runner as he led off of the bag at first. After a rundown in which the runner was tagged out, the home plate umpire ruled that the ball had never been put into play, thereby erasing the out and prolonging the inning in which the Bruins eventually scored the go ahead run on a squeeze play.
Despite the set back, Blackfoot rallied in the top of the seventh inning as Cole Mansanarez and Colby Pearson earned back-to-back base on balls to lead off the inning. Russel Osborn then laid down what turned out to be a picture perfect bunt as he slid safely into first with the infield single to load the bases with no outs.
Justin Mathie then hit a ball back up the middle which was fielded by the Twin Falls second baseman. Rather than coming home, the Bruin infield attempted and converted the 6-4-3 double play but a daring call at third and heads up base running by Colby Pearson was in the works. Not breaking stride, Pearson rounded the bag at third and on the throw from second to first he sprinted home and with a head first slide around the Bruin catcher, scored the winning run.
“Oh yea, I was thinking score two all the way on that play, especially when you have Colby who is already thinking that he is scoring,” Coach Dahle said. “We were watching the throw at first and when he gets the throw Colby is already halfway down the line and then Colby makes a heck of a slide at the plate around the catcher coming in. He didn’t have any chance of tagging Colby out on that play.”
Pearson then worked a perfect bottom half of the seventh inning, including a pair of strikeouts to lock down the Broncos first state baseball trophy in as long as anyone can remember.
“I don’t know anyone who can remember the last time Blackfoot won a trophy over here but like we’ve said, our goal was to get over here but once we got here we felt that we had a good chance of bringing hardware home,” Coach Dahle said. “Now we know that we can compete here and our goal for next year will be to return here and compete for title. We expect to be back here next year and hopefully we will be on the championship side of the bracket.”
BLACKFOOT 3, TWIN FALLS 2
Blackfoot 000 100 2 – 3 3 1
Twin Falls 000 101 0 – 2 3 1
Blackfoot hitters – Zach Later 1-3 2B R, Cole Mansanarez 1-2 R, Colby Pearson 0-2 BB R, Russel Osborn 1-3. Justin Mathie RBI. Pitching – Dillon Mansanarez 6IP 2R 1ER 3H 7K 2BB HP, Colby Pearson (W) 1IP 0R 0ER 0H 2K 0BB.
Twin Falls hitters – J. Byce 2-2 2B RBI, S. Conrad 1-3, B. Stutzman 0-3 RBI. Pitching – D. Jones (L) 7IP 3R 3ER 3H 7K 2BB.