BLACKFOOT – In this special edition of “Friday Night Lights,” we will look at the Blackfoot Broncos AA American Legion baseball team and their chances against their known opponents at the Bozeman, Montana Tournament which got underway on Thursday.
THURSDAY, JUNE 25
Blackfoot vs. Jackson Hole, Post 43
The Broncos’ first opponent is the Post 43, Jackson team, who has already played a total of 17 games as opposed to the four games that the Broncos have played already.
The Jackson Hole team, although they have five wins on the season, those wins have come against only four teams, having beaten Green River twice. Green River is not exactly a strong team this season. Their other wins have come against Hillcrest and Thunder Ridge, both of whom have returned to beat Jackson on another occasion. Jackson has also lost to the Idaho Falls Tigers twice.
The Broncos, with a pair of wins against Minico and a pair of losses against Twin Falls, have shown good starting pitching and fairly strong hitting.
With that in mind, it would appear that the Broncos should easily move past the Jackson team, especially if they can stretch the starting pitching and get some good relief pitching to go with their timely hitting. Blackfoot seems to be the stronger team, so look for them to move into today’s play with a win.
FRIDAY, JUNE 26 – Game #1
Blackfoot vs. Yakima, Wash.
The Yakima Pepsi Beetles have not shown a game being played yet in 2020. This could just be about any type of team and it would be wise for the Broncos to send their top hurler to the mound to start this game and at least ensure that they will be able to have a good chance at getting past this team. This could be any kind of a game for the Broncos and it is important for the Broncos to open the tournament with a 2-0 record.
Traditionally, Yakima has been able to field a pretty solid team in years past and the Broncos would be wise to not look past this team when they get to Bozeman.
The Broncos had best come prepared for this game or they could be facing a pair of losses today.
You can count on Yakima being ready for this game and a good view of what kind of team they are will be seen on Thursday when Yakima plays its first game of the season.
FRIDAY, JUNE 26 – Game #2
Blackfoot vs. Belgrade, Mont.
Belgrade enters the tournament with a 1-0 record, having downed the Mountain Crest Trappers 11-3 in their tune-up for this tournament. The fact that they scored 11 runs makes them seem like a tough team because they can hit and score runs.
They also had their starting pitcher go four innings and only gave up a pair of runs so at least on paper the Belgrade looks like they have pitching and hitting, so the Broncos will need to be prepared.
We know that Blackfoot has starting pitching, but how far will Coach Reay go with his starters in this tournament and how much faith will he have in his relievers?
Will the Bronco hitters be ready to tackle the field in this tournament and how strong will the hitting be? Those are but two of the questions the Broncos will be looking to answer as this tournament goes along.
We have heard good things about this Broncos team and the depth and pitching they will likely have for the whole season, but they have been largely untested this season since the high school season was curtailed after only one game.
The Broncos have had plenty of practice and several exhibition games, so it remains to be seen just how good this team can and will be.
If the Broncos show up ready to play, they should sail through their first three games, but you never know how youngsters will travel, until they do it successfully.
SATURDAY, JUNE 27
Blackfoot vs. Loveland, Colo.
The Loveland Aces enter this tournament with a 5-1 record. They are an explosive team on offense, having averaged around 13 runs in their five wins and only scored a single run in their lone loss.
Their pitching has not been great, but they do win games. They have given up 52 runs in their six games, so the Broncos should be able to score some runs against the Aces. It simply means that if the Broncos score eight runs against the Aces, which is about what they are giving up, can they hold the Aces to fewer than that number.
The Broncos will need to play well in the field, cutting down on the errors that they have given up thus far this season. If the Broncos play cleanly in the field, take advantage of their opportunities offensively, then the Broncos will be just fine.
If the Broncos play sloppily in the field, giving the Aces extra outs and chances, then they could well be in trouble from the outset of the contest.
Should the Broncos enter this game unbeaten and can down the Aces in this game, then they might well find themselves playing for the top award in this tournament.
This could be any kind of a team that represents Blackfoot in the tournament. Play well and they could win. Play poorly and they will struggle mightily. We are going to shoot for the better instance of the two and root for the Broncos to show their true green colors and come away with a very solid effort and a good record so that when they return to Blackfoot to play Skyline on Wednesday, they will be in a position to be the team to beat in their league and into the district tournament later in July.