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BLACKFOOT â€” It may have taken a little longer than the team may have liked, but the Blackfoot High School baseball team finally opened its 2014 season at home against Minico.
And after waiting and extra four days to finally get the season going, seven innings was not going to be enough.
After battling to a 1-1 tie through seven innings the visiting Spartans scratched two runs across in the top of the eighth inning to earn a 3-1 victory.
"I thought the kids played pretty well," Blackfoot head coach Kenny Dahle said. "We had a few missed opportunities, but I would rather get those out of the way now especially with district games this weekend."
Broncos starter Dylan Mansanarez cruised through the first two innings retiring Minico in order in each inning.
He appeared to be retiring the side in order in the third after striking out the first two hitters he faced. But there consecutive Minico singles plated the games first run.
Blackfoot had a chance to either tie of take the lead in bottom of the fourth when Mansanarez started a string of three straight singles to load the bases.
Mansanarez, Pacen Hayes and Tyler Lindsay all singled setting the table for Taylor Pearson.
Pearson was retired on strikes and Russell Osborn grounded into a double play to end the scoring threat.
After the missed opportunity the inning prior the Broncos made sure that they did not let the same chance go by the wayside in the fifth.
After a single by Dallin Fairchild, Brady Pearson grounded into a fielder's choice that got the Minico coach out onto the field to argue with the umpire after Fairchild did not slide into second base on the force out.
Pearson scored two batter later on a single by Andrew Hatch to tie that game at 1-1.
Unfortunately for the Broncos fans that braved to cold and wind, that was as close as the Broncos would get to scoring the remainder of the game.
The Broncos had just two runners reach base over the final three innings as Minico pitchers were able to take advantage of the early season aggressiveness at the plate.
Minico got their runs in the eighth after a leadoff walk and a single by Danny Freiburger put runners on the corners.
Zach young who led off the inning with a walk scored on a double steal when Blackfoot shortstop Russell Osborn bobbled the throw to second from the catcher. Freiburger scored two batter later on a single by Michael Cantrell.
Hatch, Hayes and Lindsay each had two hits to lead the Broncos.
The key to the 2014 season for the Broncos will be health.
So far the Broncos look more like a M.A.S.H. unit than a baseball team as a handful of players are nursing injuries or recovering from off-season surgery.
But even with players on the mend the Broncos are deep and are one of at least three other teams fighting for the second state tournament seed after defending state champion Bonneville.
Mansanrez, Fairchild, Hatch and Hayes all pitched in the season opener, but those four just scratch the surface of the depth on the Broncos rotation this season.
After shoulder surgery this summer Osborn will return to the rotation some time this season. Brady Trappett and both Pearson's can also toe the rubber if necessary.
Offensively the Broncos will need to manufacture runs as with the new technology in baseball bats over the last few years home runs are harder and harder to come by.
Up and down the lineup the Broncos are loaded with hitters who can move runners led by Pearson, Hayes and Osborn.
Defensively the team is solid and Lindsay is a big reason why. There may be no fundamentally solid catcher in Eastern Idaho than Lindsay and after one game this season he showed why.
With his ability to knock down balls at the plate and a strong arm to throw out runners many teams chose not to run on him.
As the defending consolation champions in the 4A ranks the Broncos are looking to improve, it can be done but taking down the top seeded Bees is going to be tough for the entire state.
Century should be Blackfoot's main challenger for the second state tournament berth, but then the old adage always holds true. That's why they play the games.
The Broncos open 4A District 5/6 play on Saturday when they host a doubleheader against Preston. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Minico 3, Blackfoot 1, 8 inn
Minico 001 000 02 â€“ 3 7 0
Blackfoot 000 010 00 â€” 1 8 1
Minico â€” ZachYoung, Tanner Harper (6) and Harper, Al Garcia (6). Blackfoot â€” Dylan Mansanarez, Dallin Fairchild (4), Pacen Hayes (7) and Tyler Lindsay.