SHELLEY â€” The plan for the Firth Cougars was a simple one, defeat Soda Springs in a 2A District 5/6 Tournament elimination game and clinch a berth in next week's state tournament.
A loss and the Cougars season was over.
Firth sent ace Connor Montgomery to the mound on Wednesday in Shelley and for the first two innings the Montgomery controlled the Cardinals hitters.
But despite striking out the first five hitters he faced the Cardinals took advantage of six Firth errors in the game to earn a 9-3 win to advance to the 2A state baseball tournament next week.
Montgomery's breaking ball had the top of the Cardinals lineup of guard as none of the top five in the lineup could figure out how to catch up with the pitch.
The strikeout streak came to an end with a single.
Soda Springs got on the board first in the game in the third inning when the started a two to rally on a single by Kaden Mumford.
After steal of second base Dylan Deno ripped a base hit off the the bag at third base and into left field scoring Mumford from second base.
Most baseball fans know that walks always come back to haunt teams, and leadoff walks are killers.
Deno and the Cardinals learned the hard way.
Sayer Leslie walked to start the inning, after a flyout Montgomery singled to put runners on first and second.
A sacrifice bunt by Mason Cook moved the runners up 90 feet and cleanup batter Dalton Cate brought them home.
Cate crushed a double to left center field to drive in both runs and give Firth a 2-1 lead.
A leadoff walk started what turned out to be a big fourth inning for Soda Springs.
Bridger Matyus led off with a walk and moved to second on a ground ball. Braedon Burgin singled to dive home Matyus.
After another RBI single, the Cougars defense had a major letdown.
Firth dropped two consecutive fly balls and then had a throwing error allowing two runs to score giving the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.
Soda added three more runs in the fifth inning with a two-RBI single by David Medina being the innings big hit.
Landon Hayes followed with a ground rule double and in the blink of an eye the Cardinals led 7-3.
Montgomery singled in the final Cougars run in the bottom of the fifth with a bloop single to left field driving in Leslie who reached on an error to start the inning.
But the Cougars were unable to get the big hit in the game as Deno held the Cougars to just five hits in the game.
Montgomery and Kaden Miles each led Firth with two hits.
Soda Springs 9, Firth 3
Soda Springs 001 330 2 â€” 9 10 3
Firth 002 010 0 â€” 3 5 6
Soda Springs â€” Deno, Burgin (7) and Matyus. Firth â€” Connor Montgomery and Adam Smith. 2B â€” Olivera (SS), Hayes (SS), Dalton Cate (F), Kaden Miles (F).