FILER – The Buhl and Filer high school baseball teams each went into Tuesday’s doubleheader with some hope, which manifested in different ways.
Filer had come off a pair of wins over Teton and American Falls on Friday by a combined score of 31-7. The Wildcats’ only disappointment with the Buhl tournament blowouts was that they couldn’t carry the hot streak into Saturday (the final games of the tournament were rained out).
Buhl lost 11-1 to Shelley on Friday to begin the same tournament, but rebounded with a 5-4 win over Bear Lake.
The main difference between the performances of Buhl and Filer on Friday wasn’t merely the margins of victory. The Wildcats improved to 6-4 on the season. The Indians’ tight win over the 2A Bears was their first win in 12 games this season.
The gap between Buhl and Filer became more visible on Tuesday at Filer High School. The Wildcats won the first game 10-1 and the second 5-1 (it ended in six innings due to darkness).
“We’ve just gotta compete,” Buhl coach Jamie Allen said after the first game.
Allen stressed the need for his team to focus on each pitch, to play hard every play, and to focus on the little things. Those, he says, are the only ways Buhl can turn this rough season around.
But he also understands the chicken-egg situation his Indians are in. Is the team struggling because they’re losing, or are they losing because they’re struggling? Or perhaps both?
“(I told them) to keep their heads up, take it pitch-by-pitch. Stay within themselves at the plate, and just focus on defense,” Allen said. “Sometimes that’s hard when you’re losing and you’ve lost a lot.”
Buhl hasn’t defeated Filer since 2014, Allen estimated. The losing streak will last until April 20, at least, when Buhl hosts Filer in a doubleheader.
After a scoreless first inning, Filer scored five runs in the bottom of the second. All five were plated with two outs, and three came home on one swing. Starting pitcher Austyn Sherman cleared the bases with a triple to make the score 5-0.
Sherman had an ideal performance: He finished 2-for-4 at the plate, and allowed one earned run on one hit, three walks and 10 strikeouts on the mound. When asked if he got more joy from hitting well in a game or pitching well, he didn’t hesitate.
“Both,” he said with a smile.
Ryan Ritchie went 3-for-3 with a double, while A.J. Mayer and Zach Easterday each had two hits.
Cooper Moon started on the mound for Filer in game two, and he was just as dominant as Sherman. The future CSI catcher pitched all six innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Ritchie went 2-for-3 with a double to again lead the Wildcats at the plate.
“I like what I’m seeing. We’re progressing,” Filer coach Derek Eccles said. “Earlier on, we were not playing all three aspects of the game. We’re starting to now.”
Filer (8-4, 3-1) plays at Canyon Ridge on Wednesday. Buhl (1-13, 0-4) hosts Wendell on Thursday.