BOISE — The expressions and voices from the Skyline High School baseball team said it all Thursday evening at Bishop Kelly High School.
Giddiness, relief and hints of exhaustion.
Skyline survived a barnburner in its first postseason appearance since 1997, outlasting Lakeland 16-10 in a 4A state tournament opening-round game that lasted just short of three hours.
In that duration, the Grizzlies (16-13) and Hawks (11-9) combined for 25 hits (including 11 for extra bases) and 10 errors and sent eight pitchers to the mound and 20 batters to the box.
Senior Bridger Taylor, one of six Grizzlies to record an extra-base hit, was quick to put his own perspective on Thursday’s contest.
“That’s the longest game I’ve ever played in,” he said.
Skyline head coach Brett Taylor, Bridger’s father and a senior at Skyline the last time the Grizzlies played at state, also attempted to put Thursday’s marathon into words. Like his son, he said he did not expect needing 16 runs to win.
“They have some big kids on the roster,” coach Taylor said of Lakeland. “They came to hit the ball. I kept preaching, ‘You gotta keep at it.’ I was proud of the kids that they kept battling.”
The game was a slugfest from the start. A Bridger Taylor RBI double, a Mason Jacobsen RBI single and a two-run Nick Layland single gave the Grizzlies a 4-0 lead after the top of the first inning. The lead grew to 6-1 through the top of the second following a Carson Lott RBI triple and Tim Orgill sac fly.
The Hawks cut the deficit to 6-3 with consecutive runs off errors in the bottom of the third and to 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth. The Hawks broke through with five runs in the bottom of the fifth — all with one out — to snatch a 10-8 lead. Skyline responded with Layland’s one-out, two-run double in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 10-10.
Small ball ultimately proved the difference in a long seventh inning. After taking an 11-10 lead on a Bridger Taylor RBI single, Skyline capitalized on four walks, a hit batter, an error, a sac fly and an RBI to enter the bottom of the seventh up 16-10. The Grizzlies ended any Hawks rally in the bottom of the seventh by catching two fly balls and getting the last out with a fielder’s choice.
“We were glad to get the win,” said Bridger, who went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. “Every single dude on the team stepped up.”
Layland went 3 for 5 with a double and five RBIs, Lott went 2 for 5 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored and Easton Taylor went 2 for 3 with a double, a triple, three RBIs and a sac fly. Austin Charboneau, a junior who began the season on JV, pitched the last 2.2 innings and gave up no runs on one hit while walking none and striking out four to earn the win.
“He’s a kid who has been coming along really well,” coach Taylor said. “I told him, ‘we need bullpen guys.’ Hopefully it will continue with guys who understand their role.”
Skyline plays Twin Falls (25-3) in a 7 p.m. semifinal tonight at Bishop Kelly.
SKYLINE 16, LAKELAND 10
Skyline 420 112 6—16 15 5
Lakeland 102 250 0—10 10 5
SKYLINE — Pitchers: Mason Jacobsen 4 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 4 K; Tim Orgill 0.1 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K; Austin Charboneau 2.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K. Leading hitters: Nick Layland 3-5, 2B, 5 RBIs; Bridger Taylor 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 R; Carson Lott 3B, 2-5, RBI, 2 R; Easton Taylor 2-3, 2B, 3B, 3 RBIs, 2 R, SF; Cruz Taylor 2-4, R, SB; Jacobsen 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 R; Orgill 1-2, 2 RBIs, SF; Garrison Motes 1-3, 2B, 2 R
LAKELAND — Pitchers: Dylan Bradbury 2 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 1 K; Braden Gifford 0.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K. Leading hitters: Jared McDaniel 2-5, 2B, 4 RBIs; JJ Mackesy 1-4, 2B, RBI, SB; Andrew Neilson 1-4, 2B, 2 R, SB; Ryan Pote 2-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, 3 R, SB; Tucker Price 1-3, RBI, R.