BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Blackfoot Broncos AA American Legion team is young, very young. As often happens with young teams, when they play a tough or reputable team, they are inclined to make a few mistakes and that is just what happened on Friday afternoon when they took on the team from Yakima, Wash., at the Bozeman Tournament.
The other thing that happens is that a young team will never give up, and that also happened on Friday in the game against Yakima. The Broncos battled right down to the final out and only time cost them a chance at a win as the game was called after only six innings, with Yakima leading 6-4 and the Broncos seemingly just beginning to find themselves in the process.
The Broncos sent out Payton Brooks to the mound to begin the game and he battled, even though he may not have had his best stuff on the afternoon.
Brooks battled into the fourth inning, before giving way to Nate Goodwin, but in the process, he gave up four of the six Yakima runs, although a couple of them were due to errors, which the Broncos made three, all of them costing the Broncos runs in the early going.
The Broncos found themselves behind by a score of 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, but that is when they started to find their way around the plate.
The Broncos would scrap and come up with a run in the bottom of the fourth and when Goodwin sailed through the top of the fifth inning without giving up a run, the Broncos found themselves right back at the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
They scrambled a bit and came up with another run and suddenly the score was 4-2 and they were able to get the Yakima starting pitcher out of the game.
JoJo Gonzalez had done a masterful job through the five innings that he pitched, but he did give up both of the Broncos runs to this point of the game, but the Broncos were back into the contest, only trailing by a score of 4-2.
The Broncos had taken advantage of a couple of Yakima miscues to get their runs, but all that matters is the score on the scoreboard and they found themselves in the contest.
To the top of the sixth inning the two teams would go, but time was running short as there was a time limit on contests and if things didn’t go quickly for the Broncos, they were going to find themselves short on time to get the win.
Things didn’t go right for Blackfoot in the top of the sixth as the Yakima nine quickly got runners on base and when the Broncos needed to make a play, they came up empty and before the Broncos could get three outs, Yakima had plated another pair of runs and the two teams headed to the bottom of inning number six with Blackfoot trailing 6-2.
The Broncos were not about to say die and they began to battle back. First they scored one run. Then they scored another run, but they gave up a precious out to do so.
With a man on third and Stryker Wood at the plate with two outs. The Broncos still had a chance.
Wood worked the count to 2-2 when the fatal blow was delivered, the Yakima squad got their third out and the game was called on time with Yakima leading 6-4.
The loss evened the Broncos’ record in the tournament at 1-1 and they still had a game with Belgrade left for late Friday night. Belgrade had been handled easily by Pocatello’s Runnin Rebs, so Blackfoot figured to have a better than even chance against in the nightcap on Friday.
The Broncos also had a game on Saturday before the tournament closes out action with Sunday games where the matchups will be determined by the tournament records of the teams.