There may be no sport that feeds off of emotion more than the game of baseball.
With each pitch, a team's fate can change and a comfortable lead can become a large deficit.
The Blackfoot Broncos found that out Friday afternoon in the semifinal game of the Area ‘C’ American Legion district tournament at Halliwell Park.
For most of the summer the Broncos had gotten solid starting pitching. Friday’s starter Taylor Pearson had an uncharacteristic bad day and, despite a late inning rally, it was too much to overcome as the Twin Falls Hawks earned an 11-8 win and a berth in today’s district championship game.
The tone for the game was set from the opening pitch. Pearson’s fastball ran inside and caught the arm of the Hawks' Tray Bishop.
Hit batters were a theme for the Hawks in the opening frame. Pearson went on to hit three more batters in the inning and walked another. Throw in a fielding error and the top-seeded Broncos were in a 4-0 hole before they had even had a chance to swing the bat.
It appeared Blackfoot was going to get the four runs back in the bottom of the inning when Cody Evans led off with a double down the left field line.
Evans came around to score on a wild pitch, but that was all the Broncos got as they stranded runners on first and third.
Twin Falls added two runs in the second and one on the third before Pearson settled down and found his groove.
Blackfoot answered with two runs in the second on a two-RBI double by Zach Later to cut the deficit to 7-3. But over the next three innings Hawks pitcher Jacob Newton held the Broncos to just one run and two hits. Later scored the one run on a groundout hit by Justin Mathie.
Pearson and reliever Brady Trappett held the Hawks scoreless through the middle three innings, meaning it would be up to the offense to get the Broncos back in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth the Broncos' offense finally woke up and did what it had done all summer, score runs.
Dallin Fairchild led off the inning with a single, Trappett followed with another single. Then a fielding error on a ball hit by Brady Pearson brought Fairchild in to to score and put runners on first and second with no outs.
Evans' single loaded the bases for Tyler Lindsay.
Lindsay worked a walk, driving home Trappett and putting the Broncos 7-6.
The Hawks changed pitchers and brought in Kaleb Price who pitched seven innings on Thursday.
Price got back-to-back strikeouts for the first two outs. But a groundball by Mathie got through the legs of third baseman Tyler Rosas. Pearson and Evans both came around to give the Broncos their first lead of the game at 8-7.
Price got a strikeout to end the inning and the Broncos were three outs away from a title game berth.
But Trappett was unable to get the job done.
After a flyout to start the inning the Hawks took advantage of two hits and an error to retake the lead. The Hawks added two more runs in the inning and held the Broncos in the bottom of the seventh to earn the win.
Blackfoot is not eliminated from a state tournament berth just yet; the Broncos take on the winner of the Idaho Falls Rangers/Buhl game today at noon. If they win that game they will play again at 3 p.m. If they win that game the Broncos will play on Sunday at 11 a.m. for the second seed from Area ‘C’ at next week’s state tournament.
Twin Falls Hawks 11, Blackfoot 8
Twin Falls 421 000 4 – 11 13 3
Blackfoot 120 014 0 00 8 9 3
Twin Falls – Jacob Newton, Kaleb Price (6) and Chris Chapman. Blackfoot – Taylor Pearson, Brady Trappett (6), Jaron Katseanes (7) and Tyler Lindsay. 2B – Cody Evans (B), Zach Later (B. 3B – Jacob Newton (TF).