THOMAS – The Snake River Panthers baseball team is sitting at the top of the standings for the Southeast Idaho Conference, just like their counterparts, the Lady Panther softball team.
They have worked hard and long to get to that point and they are a very young and inexperienced team that has battled many hours to reach that pinnacle of success.
There will be many more days of trials and tribulations, some good moments and some bad, before this season is over with.
One thing for sure, they will get better and they will become a more consistent team than they are at this moment.
Some of the ups and downs of the growing pains that they are going through were made glaringly obvious on Saturday, when they entertained the Kimberly Bulldogs in a doubleheader at Lockie Field.
It was windy and cold and there were inconsistencies throughout the pair of contests, from the play on the field to the calls made by the umpires. It was a struggle throughout.
In the opener, Snake River put its best pitcher on the mound in Benson Isom and he responded with a complete game, but the outcome may not have been what he deserved as a pitcher of record.
While Isom was throwing strikes and getting Kimberly to put the ball into play, it was the mixture of 12 hits by the Bulldogs and six errors by the Panthers that produced 11 runs for the visitors in an 11-1 contest.
The Bulldogs were getting some hits, but they were not on hard hit balls for the most part and some of them appeared to be catchable if it were not for the winds blowing the ball all over the place.
The score should have been much closer than it was.
The Panthers managed only five hits and they missed some opportunities to advance runners and plate some additional runs with some missed signals.
The second game of the double dip was far closer, at least through five innings, as the Bulldogs held a 5-2 lead, although three of those early runs were unearned due to some miscues in the field by the Panthers.
Nate Goodwin was on the mound and throwing strikes with a nice little curveball that was teasing the Bulldog hitters. He would notch eight strikeouts in his 5 1/3 innings of work and really deserved better than to get the loss in the contest as the Panthers ended upon the wrong end of a 10-2 final score.
Gage Hirning had a pair of hits and both Kaden Martin and Treyton Young had a pair of walks to fuel the Panther offense, but the hometown boys left way too many men on base during the contest that could have been brought around to score for the want of a hit here or there. It was that kind of frustrating ballgame. What could have been and what might have been seemed to be the way this story was written.
With the pair of losses, the Panthers saw their season record fall to 5-8, but they do have that 1-0 record in conference play and if they win their conference and district tournament,they will advance to the state tournament and that is all that is necessary for the Panthers to focus on at this point in time.
Up next will be a home game on Monday against Malad that has a starting time of 4 pm, followed by a Tuesday game on the road against West Jefferson, also with a starting time of 4 pm. Win those two games and it is back to the conference wars and a whole new season.