POCATELLO – Saturday’s agenda for the Blackfoot Broncos was simple; win two games and advance to Sunday’s second place game and still have a chance to earn a spot in next week’s state tournament.
Any loss and the Broncos season would come to an end.
It was a difficult afternoon as it took nine innings to defeat the Idaho Falls Rangers 5-4, before the Burley Green Sox eliminated the Broncos later in the day with a 10-2 win in the American Legion Area ‘C’ district tournament at Halliwell Park in Pocatello.
The Broncos first opponent of the day was the Idaho Falls Rangers a team that were swept by the Broncos earlier this summer.
Blackfoot built an early 2-0 lead after a two-RBI triple by Shad Lewis, but Idaho Falls came roaring back.
The Rangers led off the fifth inning with four consecutive singles, the last of which brought home two runs to tie the game.
Brady Pearson was brought in to pitch less than 48 hours after throwing a complete game victory over Rigby.
The Rangers got one more single that drove in a run, a throwing error brought home another and just like that Idaho Falls led 4-2.
Blackfoot got one run back in the bottom of the fifth when Tyler Lindsay scored on an error committed by Rangers shortstop Andy Clements.
But with the outs running out, the Broncos needed some kind of spark to tie the game or take the lead.
Unfortunately the sixth inning did not start well for the Broncos. After just three pitches there were two outs and the normally confident Broncos bench became leery that their season may be coming to an end.
Lewis and Jeff Mathie each reached on errors committed by the Idaho Falls third baseman. With a 2-2 count Cody Evans was trying to drive in the tying run which was standing 90 feet away at third base.
Evans popped up that 2-2 pitch into a sky that had become cloudy as the game wore on. There were three Rangers players all charging towards the ball as it was coming down. Pitcher Tim McCarty and catcher Nick Chaffin each said they could not find the ball and it fell in fair territory about five feet away from home plate.
Lewis came home to score the tying run on the play and Broncos players came roaring out of the dugout in celebration.
However the day was far from over.
It would take three more innings for any team to mount a real scoring threat. Luckily for Broncos fans they were the ones that mounted that threat.
The inning started with back-to-back singles by Zack Later and Pearson, a throwing error moved the runners to second and third.
Idaho Falls coach Pat Lloyd decided to intentionally walk Jaron Katseanes to load the bases with no outs.
Brady Trappett made him pay.
Trappett laced a single up the middle to give the Broncos the walk off win. As the ball raced through the infield the Broncos came flying out of the dugout in celebration. A jovial Trappett slapped first base in celebration.
The day was not quite over yet for the Broncos.
Blackfoot still had to win one more game, this time against a Burley team the split a doubleheader with in Blackfoot three weeks ago.
But after giving up six runs in the games’ first two innings took all the steam out of the Broncos sails.
Burley got two runs in the first on a two-RBI double by Mario Del Bosque.
Del Bosque was a thorn in the Broncos side all day long. The Burley shortstop finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with five RBI.
Blackfoot garnered just one real scoring threat against Green Sox starter Gabe Rebollozo and that came in the third.
Lewis and Cade Adakai led off the inning with singles. After a flyout, Tyler Lindsay and Later singled, Later’s hit brought in the Broncos first run. Dallin Fairchild drew a bases loaded walk for the second run.
That was all the Broncos would get.
Rebollozo got a flyout and strikeout leaving the bases loaded and ending the inning.
Blackfoot never managed to get another rally going while Burley tacked on four more runs in the final four innings.
When Later’s was thrown out on his game ending groundball the Broncos hung their heads in disappointment that their goal of a state title was over.
Despite the loss the Broncos had a solid summer of baseball, but injuries and a lack of offense during the tournament proved to be too much to overcome.
Blackfoot 5, Idaho Falls Rangers 4, 9 inn
Idaho Falls 000 040 000 – 4 8 4
Blackfoot 020 011 001 – 5 15 1
Idaho Falls – McCarty, Jensen (7) and Chaffin. Blackfoot – Cody Evans, Brady Pearson (5) and Tyler Lindsay. 3B – Shad Lewis (B)
Burley 10, Blackfoot 2
Burley 240 120 1 – 10 10 3
Blackfoot 002 000 0 – 2 7 2
Burley – Gabe Rebollzo and Gibbons. Blackfoot – Dallin Fairchild, Zack Later (2), Taylor Pearson (6), Jaron Katseanes (6) and Tyler Lindsay. 2B – Rebellozo (Burley), Del Bosque (Burley).