IDAHO FALLS â€” Under near perfect Spring baseball conditions the Firth Cougars closed out the Skyline J.V. tournament on Saturday with a morning game at Bonneville against the Bee's freshman squad and then in an afternoon contest at Hillcrest against the Knights junior varsity.
By days end, the Cougars had shaken off the previous two losses in the tournament as they evened their weekend record at 2-2 with a pair of Saturday victories, 12-1 in five innings at Bonneville and then 7-5 at Hillcrest.
"I think that we've had three games in which we felt that we were just as good or should have won and you learn from adversity and I think the kids are doing that," Firth head coach Scott Adams said.
"We still are making mistakes here and there but we are getting better," coach Adams said. "We have a lot of work to do but as long as we are continuing to get better at the end of the year we should be able to take that next step."
Playing as the home team at Bonneville, Firth shook off a quick run by the Bees in the top of the first by scoring a trio of runs in the home half of the opening inning for a lead that was never threatened.
Connor Montgomery ignited the offense with a lead walk and eventually advanced to third with a steal of second and a wild pitch. Jake Orme walked and stole second setting the table for the meat of the order. Montgomery came sprinting home courtesy of an RBI ground out by Taylor Richards. Dalton Cate legged out an infield single advancing Orme to third where Orme eventually scored on a wild pitch by the Bees pitcher. Cate also took advantage of wild pitching as he scored later in the inning via another wild pitch.
Firth added five more runs in the bottom of the second inning as Shane Jensen, Taylor Richards and Kaden Miles each collected base knocks in the inning for an 8-1 lead.
"The Bonneville freshman game, it was a good time for us to play them," coach Adams said. "I see us getting better everyday and that's the key."
Miles finished game one 3 for 3 with an RBI and a stolen base. Jordan Chapman was 2 for 4 with a triple and Dalton Cate scored 3 times on his 2-2 performance.
The beneficiary of the run support was Adam Smith who picked up the win by working 3 innings of 2 hit baseball. Shane Jensen closed out the final two innings by holding the Bee's hitless.
After a short bus ride to Hillcrest High School the Cougars kept their hitting shoes on as they pounded out 11 more hits including four more hits from the hot hitting Chapman.
Chapman got the game started offensively for the Cougars with a one out single in the top of the first inning. Chapman eventually gave the Cougars the 1-0 lead after stealing second, advancing to third on a ground out and then scampering home on a wild pitch.
Firth blew the game open with four runs in the top of the third inning as Adam Smith wore a pitch advancing to second on a single by Connor Montgomery. Chapman loaded the bases with a single of his own and Jake Orme drove in a pair of runs with a 2RBI double. Chapman scored via an RBI ground out by Taylor Richards and Orme rounded out the scoring in the inning when he was driven home by Mason Cook and his RBI single.
With the lead staring pitcher Connor Montgomery went deep into the ball game as the fireballer threw 5 innings of 5 hit baseball before turning the ball game over to the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"That was not the best game that Connor is capable of," coach Adams said. "He was still able to hold Hillcrest in check though and that was a legit ball club."
Hillcrest tried to mount a comeback in the home half of the sixth inning as they loaded the bases on three straight walks, prompting another pitching change by the Cougars.
Taylor Richards took to the bump with the bases loaded and no outs and although two runners found their way home, the Cougars still led 6-5 by innings end.
"You need kids to come up big at certain times in a game and sometimes it's the pitcher," coach Adams said. "We still need to do a better job of not walking batters.
Firth added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning when Chapman swatted a double and then scored on a fielding error by the Hillcrest right fielder.
Hillcrest were able to get their first two hitters on base to begin the bottom of the seventh but a fly ball to left. A ground ball to first and a ground ball to third slammed the door on the comeback attempt as the Cougar fans celebrated a sweep of the Saturday ball games.
Firth (2-3) will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to Marsh Valley for a non-conference game with the Eagles. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
FIRTH 12, BONNEVILLE JV 1
Bonneville 100 00 - 1 2 4
Firth 153 1x - 12 13 0
Bonneville hitters: Hartwell 1-1, Trejo 1-1 RBI. pitching: Hartwell (L) 3IP 9H 11R 4ER 4BB 1K, Fullmer 1IP 4H 1R 1ER 0BB 0K.
Firth hitters: Connor Montgomery 1-3 RBI SB, Jordan Chapman 2-4 3B 2R, Taylor Richards 2-4 R 2RBI, Dalton Cate 2-2 3R RBI, Kaden Miles 3-3 RBI SB, Shane Jensen 2-3 R. pitching: Adam Smith (W) 3IP 2H 1R 0ER 4BB 4K, Shane Jensen 2IP 0H 0R 0ER 3BB 1K.
FIRTH 7, HILLCREST JV 5
Firth 104 001 1 - 7 11 2
Hillcrest 000 202 0 - 5 7 2
Firth hitters: Connor Montgomery 1-4 R, Jordan Chapman 4-4 2B 3R SB, Jake Orme 1-4 2B 2RBI, Mason Cook 2-4 R RBI, Nick Anderson 2-3 RBI. pitching: Connor Montgomery (W) 5H 3R 3ER 7BB 5K, Shane Jensen IP 0H 2R 2ER 3BB 0K, Taylor Richards (S) 2IP 2H 0R 0ER 3BB 0K.