BURLEY — Nothing came easy for the Burley Green Sox for much of Saturday’s championship games against the Idaho Falls Tigers, but after countless momentum shifts, big hits, and gutsy performances, they finally came out on top to claim the Idaho Legion Single-A state title.
Burley entered the day as the last undefeated team in the tournament, so a win in the first game would have given them the championship, but Idaho Falls prevailed 7-5 in eight innings. Burley won the second game 18-7 to earn the title.
The first game was a back-and-forth battle where Burley jumped out to a 4-1 lead after four innings, but the Tigers chipped away by scoring one run in the fifth, two in the sixth, one in the seventh and two in the eighth. Starting pitcher Drew Ferrin stood out with a seven-inning outing and a (4-for-4) day at the plate, and Ramiro Garcia doubled twice. But Idaho Falls got its final two runs on a throwing error and came away with the win.
Game two looked like it was going to go Idaho Falls’ way after the Tigers led 4-1 in the first inning. But Burley wasn’t the same team after that.
The Green Sox’s bats came alive, as they came back with five runs in the second. Ferrin hit a two-run home run to left field to give his team a 6-4 lead.
The most damage came in the fifth inning. Burley piled up eight runs and had three different players hit RBI doubles. Kody Condie and Ferrin each had massive offensive performances. Each drove in five runs, Condie went (5-for-6) with a pair of doubles, and Ferrin added a triple to his home run.
Ramiro Garcia went (4-for-4) at the plate in addition to providing 5.2 innings of relief pitching. He hadn’t been on the mound the whole tournament, but he was prepared when his name was called.
“They let me know beforehand just be ready, then I just had my defense behind me, which helped a lot,” Garcia said.
He exited the game in the seventh inning with the game well in hand after allowing just one earned run and striking out six. He left the field to a strong ovation from the crowd.
But what changed offensively for Burley? The team brought out a box of Froot Loops cereal out of the clubhouse for game two in honor of teammate Scott Ritchie, who has the nickname Toucan Sam—the bird on the cereal box. The box of cereal was at the center of the team’s endless celebrations during the second game’s offensive explosion.
“I’m not too sure was the difference was,” Ferrin said. “It could have been the Froot Loops.”
“I felt like we just figured out our approach and kept at it, and it worked out in the end,” Ferrin added on a more serious note.
Regardless of the cause of their success, the Green Sox earned a spot in the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament next week. Winning a second straight state championship meant a lot to catcher Kody Condie, who was behind the plate for every inning of Saturday’s doubleheader.
“It means a lot, I don’t even know where to start,” Condie said. “It showed just how hard we worked to get back here, and we wanted to win it again.”