TWIN FALLS — For whatever reason, the energy level was low for the Twin Falls Blackhawks and the Burley Green Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
Whether it was the near 100-degree heat, the grind of the season or another host of factors, the teams’ head coaches detected faulty motors in their respective dugouts.
The Blackhawks received a jolt about midway through the first game of their doubleheader, and they feasted on a tired arm when the game was still in flux. Twin Falls continued its conference dominance with an 11-3 win in game one.
“Confidence just keeps going,” Blackhawks first baseman Drew Ochsner said.
Twin Falls returned from a tournament in Denver over the weekend, and they swept Bear Lake in a doubleheader on Monday. Tuesday’s off day was the only reprieve in eight days of baseball for the Blackhawks. Head coach Dave Slotten said, through Wednesday, his team played 10 games over that period of time.
So Slotten wasn’t shocked by his team’s slow start on Wednesday.
“Our kids were a little stale,” he said. “They’re still dragging a little bit.”
That doesn’t mean he was pleased. Quite the opposite, in fact. His players slowly but surely eased his displeasure.
Burley took a 2-0 lead after two innings. Twin Falls pitcher Skyler Oneida looked like a casualty of the season’s grind (eight walks and a hit batsman in the game), and Burley ace Treyvn Wells looked dominant early. He retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced.
Oneida’s control issues were muted by strong defense and poor at-bats from the Green Sox, at least in head coach Devin Kunz’s opinion. And Wells looked vulnerable once the fourth inning struck.
“He owned us the first time through the lineup,” Slotten said. “Second time through the lineup, we took some better swings.”
A walk and a hit-by-pitch brought Ochsner up with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. He lined up a Wells fastball and one-hopped the left-field wall for a two-out double. He also came around to score, giving the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.
“We usually struggle versus lefties,” Ochsner said. “Coach just tells us to hit fastballs.”
Twin Falls led 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth. Wells was still in, and he couldn’t ward off the feisty Blackhawks.
They scored their first run of the sixth on a suicide squeeze, which created a two-out, nobody on situation. Ten batter later, Twin Falls led 11-3.
Nine of the Blackhawks’ 11 runs scored with two outs.
“We didn’t have a lot of fight today for whatever reason,” Kunz said.
The win improved the Blackhawks to 10-1 in conference play, while the Green Sox dropped to 9-4. The Blackhawks won the second game 8-5. No other details were available at press time.