RIVERSIDE â€” Opening the season winners of their first 12 games, the Snake River Lady Panthers have done all of the little things well enough to win ballgames.
Playing solid defense, hitting the ball and getting good pitching have be a constant for the team all season.
They also have not trailed very often this season.
But that normally solid Snake River defense showed some cracks on Friday against District opponent Bear Lake, but the offense made up for the mistakes as an eight-run fifth inning gave the Panthers a 15-5 win over the Bears at Riverside Elementary School.
"It was a close game up until the last inning," Snake River head coach Kay Martin said. "The girls made some mental mistakes but it was a good challenge for us. We had to make plays to save runs and we kind of buckled a bit with the pressure, but we had some key hits with runners on base."
After falling behind 2-1 in the top of the third, the Panthers rallied with two outs in the bottom half of the inning.
Raegan Martin reached on a fielder's choice, Mayce Polatis singled and Piper Coles walked to load the bases setting the table for Anissa Reyes.
Reyes fell behind quickly 0-2 as Bear Lake pitcher Olivia Harrison painted the outside corner with a pair of fastballs.
Reyes did not miss the third fastball as she ripped a double to left field driving home Martin and Polatis.
After moving to third on a passed ball, Reyes came home to score on an error to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead.
The Bears have defeated the Panthers in the district championship each of the last four seasons, so Martin new the Bears would battle back in the game.
He was right, but the Bears were allowed back in the game because of some uncharacteristic Panthers mistakes.
Snake River committed four errors in the inning allowing two runs to score, another run came across on a double and in the blink of an eye the Panthers were again trailing.
But in their final two at-bats the Panthers plated 11 runs, including eight in the fifth to end the game."Mayce crushed one and Anissa crushed one and their pitcher through a lot of wild pitches and it was a great team effort to get those big hits," Martin said. "When you get a few walk and a little error all you need to do is put the ball in play and that's what the girls did today."
The fourth inning rally by the Panthers was again with two outs.
Ashlyn Wood walked and Crumley was hit by a pitch. Martin singled driving in Wood, then Polatis ripped a two-RBI double to left field driving in Crumley and Martin.
In the eight-run fifth the Panthers got RBI hits from Crumley, Polatis and Coles to go along with scoring four other runs on errors or wild pitches.
"it was great practice for the girls because we have no had to play from behind much this season," Martin said. "The girls stuck in there and did not give up."
Polatis finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI to lead the Panthers.
Snake River (13-0) plays at Blackfoot today a 1 p.m.
Snake River 15, Bear Lake 5, 5 inn
Bear Lake 011 30 â€”5 3 4
Snake River 103 38 â€” 15 9 6
Bear Lake â€” Harrison, Lish (5) and Saxton. Snake River â€” Alyssa Crumley and Kara Polatis. 2B â€” Saxton (BL), Schwarting (BL), Mayce Polatis (SR), Anissa Reyes (SR). 3B â€” S. Hiller (BL).