BLACKFOOT — After a long hot summer of baseball the American Legion baseball season entered its final week of the regular season with questions remaining on who will qualify for next week's district tournament in Pocatello.
The Blackfoot Broncos have been atop the west division for most of the season and with two wins Wednesday against district rival Burley the Broncos would clinch the top spot. A split or a sweep would keep the Broncos at the top but leave the top spot up for grabs.
After pounding out 14 hits in an 8-5 game one win, the Broncos and Green Sox took to the field for game two.
Unfortunately the Broncos offense forgot to show up for the first six innings of the game.
Burley scored three runs in the first, one in the fifth and two in the seventh to build a 6-0 lead and come within three outs of a doubleheader split.
Blackfoot however had other ideas.
The Broncos rallied sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring four runs. But with the bases loaded and one out Blackfoot had two chances to get the tying and go ahead runs home.
But Brady Trappett popped out to shortstop and Cade Adakai struck out to end the game.
Before the final outs were recorded Adakai started the inning with a single, Shad Lewis walked and Fairchild singled to load the bases.
Cody Evans singled to drive in the Broncos first run of the game.
Justin Mathie drew a bases loaded walk and Zach Later and Jaron Katseanes each had RBI singles. But the rally ended two runs short.
After banging out 14 hits in game one, the Broncos were held to eight hits in game two.
Sure the lack of offensive production did frustrate the players on the bench after missed opportunity after missed opportunity went by. But what cost the Broncos in that important second game was the defense.
All day long the Broncos had problem on defense committing a combined 10 errors on the day and each ended up costing the Broncos runs.
Blackfoot head coach Jeff Katseanes pulled his team aside twice during the game and challenged them on their defensive problems.
While challenged by Katseanes, the routine plays at times became a challenge.
The Broncos know if they want to make to the state tournament in two weeks the defense has to be cleaned up.
In game one the Broncos did most of their damage in the first three innings.
Trappett got the Broncos on the board with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the first.
Later had an RBI single in the second and Taylor Pearson added a sacrifice fly in the second.
Shad Lewis added an RBI single in the fourth. Those runs were more than enough for Pearson who was the Broncos arm on the mound.
Burley did make the game interesting in the top of the fourth when they plated three runs in the inning that was started by a fielding error.
But Blackfoot was able to get past all of their mistakes and the umpires being over an hour late to earn the 8-5 win and the split of the day.
Evans led the Broncos at the plate going 4-for-7.
Blackfoot continues district play today as they travel to Bear Lake for a doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Blackfoot 8, Burley 5
Burley 100 010 0 — 5 5 2
Blackfoot 231 101 x — 8 14 5
Burley — Gabe Rebollozo and Hunter Breshurs. Blackfoot — Taylor Pearson and Tyler Lindsay. 2B — Cody Evans (B). 3B — Taylor Pearson (B).
Burley 6, Blackfoot 4
Burley 300 010 2 — 6 13 0
Blackfoot 000 000 4 — 4 8 5
Burley — Hunter Breshurs, Jackson Kunz (7) and Davis Gibbons. Blackfoot — Brady Pearson, Jaron Katseanes (7) and Zach Later. 2B — Gabe Rebollozo (Burley), Mario Del Bosque (Burley).