KIMBERLY – One win was all Buhl High School softball team truly needed. For four and a half innings, the Indians’ fate looked sealed. Then, they held on for dear life.
In game one of Friday’s doubleheader at Kimberly High School, Buhl built a 12-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. Kimberly proceeded to score eight straight runs, and a stunning comeback looked real.
The Indians held on and wiped their collective brow. The 12-11 win was crucial for Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference seeding, namely the No. 1 spot in the district tournament. Kimberly won the second game 5-0, but Buhl remained at the steering wheel heading into its final two regular season games.
“The first game was the big one,” Buhl coach Derrick Brinkman said. “Ultimately, in the conference fight, we had to win one of two here.”
Wind consistently gusted around 20 mph on Friday evening, and its effects were evident at Kimberly. Several Bulldogs and Indians donned coats, and multiple popups turned into hits or errors. In game one, Buhl weathered the weather a little better than Kimberly, especially early.
The Indians scored three runs in the top of the second to take a 3-1 lead, which bulged to 8-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth. They rebutted Kimberly’s two-run fourth with four runs in the fifth to pull ahead 12-3.
That’s when the Bulldogs caught a second wind.
Three runs in the fifth inning made a comeback attempt reasonable. Four runs in the sixth made it reachable. Dezi Overacre led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, and she scored on a one-out wild pitch. At 12-11, a tie or a walk-off was in play, even with the bases empty. But Buhl starter Madison Sommers forced two straight outs to end the game.
“The girls responded pretty well,” Kimberly coach Rich Bishop said. “It’s tough to get down that many runs against a good team and expect to win. Even though they gave themselves a chance, it’s still tough to come all the way back.”
Carol Vega walked in all four of her plate appearances for Buhl, while twins McKenna and Madison Brinkman combined to go 4-for-9 and drive in seven runs.
Hannah Frey, Kimberly’s starting pitcher, went 3-for-4 with three doubles, and Ashlie Watts went 4-for-5.
Eight straight runs would not be all for Kimberly. In game two, the Bulldogs scored three in the second inning, one in the fourth and one more in the sixth. Overacre took care of the rest.
The junior right-hander allowed four unearned runs in three innings out of the bullpen in game one. In game two, she pitched all seven innings, and her ERA continued to plummet. She pitched a five-hitter, with three walks and four strikeouts.
Despite three errors, the defense behind Overacre was strong. The Bulldogs turned two double plays and threw out Kayla Cole in the sixth inning, when she attempted to stretch a double into a triple.
“My defense was backing me up, and we were getting really good hits,” Overacre said. “It all just came together.”
Frey continued her hot day at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance in game two. Both hits were doubles. Riley Egbert and McKall Cameron also went 2-for-3 for the Bulldogs.
While one win was vital for Buhl, two would have been ideal. The Indians are now 7-3 in conference play. Kimberly is 7-5, Filer is 6-4 and Gooding is 2-10.
Buhl and Filer face off on Monday, and both have a chance to take the top seed in the district tournament. Buhl needs one win to earn that spot, and Filer needs a sweep. A split would knot Filer and Kimberly up at No. 2, which would force a tiebreaker for the second and third seeds.
“It’s been a quick, bad weather spring, a windy, cold, rainy mess,” Derrick Brinkman said. “Now, it’s gonna come down to Monday.”
Buhl 12, Kimberly 11 (Game One)
Buhl; 0; 3; 0; 5; 4; 0; 0; – 12; 10; 1
Kimberly; 1; 0; 0; 2; 3; 4; 1; – 11; 16; 4
Buhl: Pitching – Madison Sommers (W) 7 IP, 16 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
Leading hitters: Carol Vera 0-0, 4 BB, 2 R; McKenna Brinkman 2-4, 4 RBI, 2 R; Madison Brinkman 2-5, 3 RBI, R; Sommer 2-4, R; Kyra Azevedo 2-5, RBI.
Kimberly: Pitching – Hannah Frey (L) 4 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; Dezi Overacre 3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 0 K.
Leading hitters – Frey 3-4, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R; Ashley Watts 4-5, SB, 2 RBI; Overacre 2-5, 2B, R; Aimee Olchawa 2-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R; McKall Cameron 2-4, SB, 2 RBI; Breeana Ulrich 1-3, BB, SB, 2 R.
Kimberly 5, Buhl 0 (Game Two)
Buhl; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; – 0; 5; 1
Kimberly; 0; 3; 0; 1; 0; 1; X; – 5; 9; 3
Buhl: Westy Anderson (L) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K.
Leading hitters – Anderson 2-3; Kayla Cole 1-3, 2B; McKenna Brinkman 1-3, BB; Madison Brinkman 0-2, 2 BB.
Kimberly: Pitching – Dezi Overacre (W) 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K.
Leading hitters – Hannah Frey 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R; Riley Egbert 2-3, 3 RBI; McKall Cameron 2-3, RBI; Aimee Olchawa 1-2, BB, 2 R; Ashlie Watts 1-3, BB.