NAMPA - Twin Falls beat the on-paper best team in the state, with the on-paper best player in the state on the mound.
And the Bruins did it their way.
Cody Root's two-run double was the only Bruin extra base hit, and it kickstarted a five-run sixth-inning rally as Twin Falls rallied to stun Bishop Kelly 6-4 in the 4A state semifinals.
For four innings the Bruins were manhandled by Bowen Ogata and the Knights. But they knew their chance would eventually come, and they maximized the one great chance they got.
"That's the thing about our kids ... they understand you're going to have peaks and valleys and it's a long game," said Twin Falls coach Tim Stadelmeir. "For four innings Bishop Kelly outplayed us. But we challenge our kids: are they going to be front-runners or are they going to fight? And they fight. That was a great baseball game."
The small-ball Bruins arrived at the state championship game perhaps a year ahead of schedule, bucking a team that had double-digit seniors along the way.
The junior Root had the biggest hit of them all, lashing a two-run double to right field to give Twin Falls the lead and chase the University of Utah-bound Ogata.
"I knew he was struggling (that inning), and I took the first pitch, which was right down the middle," Root said. "I told myself it was coming again, because he was struggling, and I couldn't take it again. I got a good swing on it."
Ogata homered and drove in two of Bishop Kelly's runs.
Robert Montoya and Jason Bride also had two hits for Twin Falls, which will play Lakeland in the championship game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Rodeo Park.
The Bruins didn't get there without one last fight from Bishop Kelly, however, but Braden Stutzman put an exclamation point on his four-plus innings of relief by blowing away Justin Marino to end the game, staring confidently toward the dugout as he was chest-bumped by onrushing teammates.
"That was a great feeling. Hopefully we have an even better one tomorrow," Root said.
Twin Falls 6, Bishop Kelly 4
Bishop Kelly 102 000 1 -4 11 2
Twin Falls 000 015 x -6 9 1
LEADING HITTERS - Bishop Kelly: Ogata 3-4, HR, 2 RBI; Lodge 3-3. Twin Falls: Root 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Montoya 2-3; Bride 2-3, RBI.
PITCHERS - Bishop Kelly: Ogata (L) 5+ IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K; Clevenger 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Twin Falls: Greenfield 2.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; Stutzman (W) 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.