BOISE—A steady rain muddied the field at Vallivue High School for Thursday’s Class 4A state baseball tournament, but Twin Falls and Idaho Falls played crisp, clean baseball.
That’s why the few mistakes the Bruins made led to a 2-1 loss in a 10-inning game that started over an hour and a half late due to a rain delay. Idaho Falls (18-5) advanced to the semifinal Friday while Twin Falls fell to the consolation bracket.
The game was deadlocked at zero most of the way as both starting pitchers, Carson Walters for Twin Falls and Drew Gregersen for the Tigers, were dominant. The Bruins broke through in the sixth when Haylen Walker scored on a fielder’s choice.
But Idaho Falls came right back in the bottom half of the frame. Cannon Thompson led off with a walk, then Gregersen and Cabes Woolf laid down back-to-back bunts.
Each one brought the same result. The charging Twin Falls fielder slipped on the wet grass and couldn’t make the play. Caden White hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Thompson and tie the game.
The Bruins (21-6-1) left the bases loaded in the seventh and couldn’t push the winning run across.
The decisive blow came in the 10th inning when a throwing error allowed Woolf to score from second. Twin Falls went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
“Our guys battled tough,” Twin Falls coach Nolan Amundson said. “We talk all the time about taking care of the ball, and for the most part we did that. We played a good team, so hats off to them for taking advantage of a mistake.”
The pitching duel between the two left-handed starters stole the show for most of the evening. Gregersen pitched into the ninth inning and allowed just one run and struck out six.
“I was being really efficient today, which was awesome, especially in the state tournament saving as many arms as you possibly can for the next two days,” Gregersen said. “It was about locating the fastball and keeping them off balance with the curveball and changeup. My catcher was working his tail off today calling pitches and I just executed.”
Walters went seven innings, usually good enough for a complete game. He also allowed one run and struck out six.
“That’s Carson Walters,” Amundson said. “When he’s throwing strikes, when he’s attacking hitters, he’s as good as anybody you’re going to see in high school baseball. That’s what we were expecting from him, and that’s what we got. I’m proud of him.”
Even though his team fell short, Amundson said there was a lot to like about how his team played and they have a chance to keep playing, starting at 1 p.m. Friday.
“You go back, you tell these guys, shoot, you had a 10-inning game, your season’s on the line, you battled all day against a great team and a great arm,” the coach said. “You come back out tomorrow and it’s a new day.”