BLACKFOOT — After winning the 4A District 5/6 championship and reaching the 4A state softball tournament in 2013 the Blackfoot Lady Broncos knew that the 2014 team would have a decent chance to repeat that success assuming the team returned intact.
That was almost not the case as junior pitcher Morningrose Tobey literally decided minutes before tryouts were to begin that she wanted to play this season.
Tobey wasted little time showing the Blackfoot faithful that her decision to come back and play was a good one. She carried a no-hitter for the first four innings and drive in four of the Broncos nine runs as the Broncos opened the season with a 9-2 win over Hillcrest Thursday afternoon at Blackfoot High School.
"I think I jinxed it because I kept saying she had a no-hitter," Blackfoot head coach Matt Chavez said of Tobey's early game pitching. "But she pitched really well and gave up a couple of Texas leaguers for them to get a couple of runs. She throws so hard the swings were all arms and just found holes."
Tobey was light's out on the mound going all seven innings allowing four hits and striking out 11.
She was also dangerous at he plate.
After tip-toeing through the top of the Broncos order in the opening inning, Hillcrest pitching got burned by the bottom of the Broncos order in the second.
A single by Taylor Beers started the inning. After a flyout, a fielder's choice and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out.
Hadlie henderson made the Knights pitcher pay for loading the bases lacing a 3-2 to pitch to left field driving home Beers to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.
Sami MacFee scored on a passed ball to extend the lead to 2-0.
Two batters later Tobey ripped a ball to left center field that one hopped the fence clearing the bases to make the lead 5-0.
The Broncos added four more runs in the third after an RBI bunt single by Cassandra Clarke and a sacrifice fly by Tobey to giver her four RBI in two innings.
Hillcrest got there first hit leading off the fifth inning and scored their first run on a fielder's choice later in the inning, and added another run in the sixth.
But the arm of Tobey was tough to solve for the Knights as they were retired in order in four of the seven innings.
"I was really happy with how the girls played today," Chavez said. "We did make a few errors but we have not been able to get outside much so far because the weather has been so terrible. But we did a lot of good things for the first time out."
Blackfoot is poised to return to the top of the 4A District 5/6 standings again this season as the team is loaded with returners led by Tobey, Clarke and junior first baseman Madison Leslie.
"We have there freshman that will be with us this year," Chavez said. "All three can pitch and will give us some depth and a chance to give Mo a break as the season goes on."
Brooklyn Adams and Henderson made their debut against the Knights. Adams at third base and Henderson as the designated player.
"Hadlie did a great job today," Chavez said. "She did a good job hitting the ball and making them pay for trying to go after the bottom of the order."
"Each of my three freshman can throw and will compete with any team out there when they get the chance," Chavez said.
The Broncos are the favorites to repeat as district champs with the Diamondbacks of Century being the team that should challenge Blackfoot for the other berth in the state tournament.
"We are going to be solid again this year," Chavez said. "We have kids that have been to state before and want to get their again and this is a group that believes they can do it."
Tobey finished the game 1-for-2 with four RBI, Clarke, Beers and Henderson each had two hits.
Blackfoot plays at Skyline on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Blackfoot 9, Hillcrest 2
Hillcrest 000 011 0 — 2 4 2
Blackfoot 054 000 x — 9 9 1
Hillcrest — A. Jensen, H. Hudson (4) and P. Van Kampen. Blackfoot — Morningrose Tobey and Matti Chavez. 2B — Tobey (B).