TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls Blackhawks went 2-0 at the Area C Single-A legion tournament on Thursday, but they stood on the mound after their second game in disappointment.
The Blackhawks labored through two stressful games, especially the second one, and nobody on the team was especially pleased.
They also grasped a simple fact. Another 2-0 showing over the next two days would result in a district title and state tournament berth.
The host Blackhawks defeated the Sugar-Salem Diggers 3-1 and survived a 15-12 nine-inning slog against the Idaho Falls Bees at Canyon Ridge High School. Twin is one win away from the district title game.
“We know we can play better than that,” Blackhawks outgoing senior Colton Knaup said. “We probably honestly should take this (tournament) with ease, not games like this, dragged out, errors. We know we belong at the top of this.”
The Blackhawks’ first game finished in about one hour, 15 minutes thanks to a pair of strong pitching performances.
Sugar-Salem took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, and Diggers starting pitcher Jace Hansen carried a no-hitter into bottom half. But a couple of errors and a single led to a run for the Blackhawks, and the 1-1 score held constant for two more innings.
Bryan Celis led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk. The next batter, Colton Knaup, drove a pitch into the right-center field gap. The triple scored Celis, and Knaup scored a batter later on a Drew Oschner bloop single.
Drake Rosas retired the side in the top of seventh to seal the win. He allowed one unearned run on four hits and a walk, and he struck out six in his seven innings of work.
The Blackhawks’ second round game against the Bees lasted two hours longer than the Sugar-Salem game, thanks in large part to some disastrous defense.
Twin was in control all game. They led 3-0 after one inning, 8-4 after four and 9-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth. The Bees loaded the bases with two outs, but the Blackhawks were about to escape. Ben Carberry threw back to second base, and the runner was hung out to dry. The Blackhawks then got the runner at third in a rundown, and Carberry got the tag down at home. But the ball squirted out of his glove, and the run scored.
As the ball rolled away, the runner behind the play sprinted toward home, but he collided with a Blackhawk during his initial burst. He was tagged out at home, but the umpires called interference on the play, so the run scored. The score was 9-7.
The next batter hit a routine grounder to first base, but Drew Ochsner booted it, and another run scored. One batter later, Carberry threw a wild pitch, and another run scored. The game was tied.
The score remained knotted at 9-9 until the ninth inning. With one out, Celis broke the tie with a bases loaded single, but the runner at second base was thrown out at home. Two plate appearances later, Avery Rambur popped up to shallow left field, and the rally looked dead. But the shortstop dropped the ball, and two runs scored, even though both runners froze and looked like dead meat.
A two-run double by Skyler Oneida and another drop, this time by the left fielder, scored three more runs. The Blackhawks led 15-9.
The Bees made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, but the Blackhawks held on.
“We had our heads down for a little bit, but we are a family, and we all get back right with each other,” Knaup said. “Everyone has a lot of confidence.”
The Blackhawks will face the Pocatello Razorbacks at 6 p.m. on Friday in the district semifinals. The Idaho Falls Grizzlies and Idaho Falls Tigers face off in the other semifinal game.
Twin Falls Blackhawks 3, Sugar-Salem Diggers 1
Sugar-Salem 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 1 4 2
Twin Falls 0 0 0 1 0 2 X — 3 4 2
Twin Falls: Pitching — Drake Rosas (W) 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
Leading hitters — Colton Knaup 1-3, 3B, SB, RBI, R; Bryan Celis 1-2, BB, R; Skylar Oneida 1-2, HBP, R; Drew Ochsner 1-3, RBI.
Burley Green Sox 8, Upper Valley 5; Idaho Falls Grizzlies 4, Burley Green Sox 3 (8 innings)
TWIN FALLS — The Green Sox experienced their fair share of rough sequences early in the Area C Single-A tournament, despite winning a game.
In their first game, at 9 a.m. against Upper Valley, Burley’s Luke Stowers couldn’t escape the top of first inning (two runs on four walks), and Ramiro Garcia relieved him. Garcia buckled down, and Burley’s bats ignited, so the sluggish start didn’t sink the Green Sox.
In Burley’s second game, at 3 p.m. against the Idaho Falls Grizzlies, the home team tagged Trevyn Wells for three runs in the third inning. Burley’s Garrett Tracy smashed a solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth, but the score remained 3-1 until the seventh.
With one out and runners on the corners in the top of the seventh, Stowers hit a double play ball to first base. But the return throw to first sailed into the dugout, and a run scored. Two batters later, Wells singled in Stowers to tie the game. The runner on second, Easton Watterson, was waved home but was easily thrown out to end the inning.
Wells recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth, but he couldn’t escape the inning. After a walk and a double, Wells reached his pitch limit, and Kody Condie replaced him.
Condie walked the first batter he faced and issued a walk-off walk to the second one.
The Green Sox out-hit the Grizzlies 11-4, but they issued nine walks, compared to three by Idaho Falls.
“I was proud of the kids because we didn’t quit,” Burley coach Devin Kunz said. “I don’t feel bad at all. We just have to get some rest and hydration.”
The loss sent the Green Sox (17-17) to the loser’s bracket, where they will face Sugar-Salem at 9 a.m. on Friday. It will be Burley’s third game in 24 hours. The Diggers didn’t play another game Thursday after losing to the Blackhawks.
“It is what it is,” Kunz said. “We had our chances to win that game.”
Stowers’ short start on Thursday kept him eligible to pitch on Friday. He’ll start the Sugar-Salem game for Burley, which will play another game Friday afternoon if it wins the first game. The Green Sox would then need to win two games on Saturday to reach state.
“Hopefully we’ll have a long day tomorrow and a long day Saturday,” Kunz said.
Burley Green Sox 8, Upper Valley 5
Upper Valley 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 —5 6 0
Burley 4 1 0 0 3 0 X —8 9 2
Burley: Pitching – Luke Stowers 0.2 IP, 4 BB, 2 R, 2 ER; Ramiro Garcia (W) 6 IP, 6 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 3 R, 1 ER.
Leading hitters – Easton Watterson 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 SB; Trevyn Wells 1-2, 3B, 2 BB; Carson Noble 2-3, RBI, SB; Kody Condie 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Ramiro Garcia 1-3, 2B, RBI.
Idaho Falls Grizzlies 4, Burley Green Sox 3 (8 innings)
Burley 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 – 3 11 0
Idaho Falls 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 – 4 4 1
Burley: Pitching – Trevyn Wells (L) 7.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 8 K; Kody Condie 0 IP, 2 BB.
Leading hitters – Garrett Tracy 2-4, 2B, HR, RBI, R; Easton Watterson 2-3, BB, SB; Wells 2-4, RBI; Luke Stowers 2-4, RBI, R; Carson Noble 1-2, BB, R; Beau Phipps 2-3.
Idaho Falls Tigers 6, Wood River Wranglers 5
TWIN FALLS – The second-seeded Wood River Wranglers were sent to a loser-out game by the Idaho Falls Tigers Thursday in their first game of the single-A legion district tournament. The Wranglers received a bye in the first round.
The Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead through four innings, and the Wranglers came up just short completing the comeback. Nic Tidwell gave up six runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out nine in the complete game loss.
Ike Buxton was a one-man offensive wrecking crew for Wood River, as he went 3-for-5 with all five of his team’s RBIs. Shortstop Andy Ruiz also hit a double.
The Wranglers take on Marsh Valley at 9 a.m. Friday in a loser-out game.
Idaho Falls Tigers 6, Wood River Wranglers 5
Tigers 2 0 3 1 0 0 0 —6 6 2
Wranglers 0 0 2 0 2 0 1 —5 7 1
Wranglers: Pitching – Nic Tidwell (L) 7 IP, 6 H, 9 K, 3 BB, 6 R, 5 ER.
Leading hitters – Ike Buxton 3-5, 5 RBI Andy Ruiz 1-4, 2B.