The Challis-Mackay RiverCats begin state tournament play at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 16, against Melba, a top five-ranked team.
The game is at Orofino High School. Orofino is in the Pacific time zone, so the first pitch is thrown at 4 p.m. Challis time. Fans can catch the game online at idahosports.com.
The RiverCats advance to the state event after winning the District 6 championship on May 6 against the Firth Cougars. Challis-Mackay needed two straight wins against Firth after coming up out of the loser’s bracket.
In the first game, Jarett Ollar led off with a walk and Josh Papac hit a line-drive single. Next, they intentionally walked Garrett Millick to bring Austin Ollar up with no outs and the bases loaded. Austin then smashed a line drive but, unluckily, it went to the second baseman and Firth doubled off Millick at first. The RiverCats ended up getting no runs that inning.
There was no scoring until the top of the fifth inning, when the RiverCats scored seven runs. After a couple of hits, including a 350-foot single by Millick, and Cougar errors, Challis-Mackay jumped out to a big lead. Millick, the pitcher, and the defense behind him, helped keep the Cougars off the board and the RiverCats took Game 1, 7-0.
Millick pitched a complete game shutout and threw well. He allowed just two hits and struck out 10 batters.
Papac had a great game at the plate and in the field. He went 2-4 with a double and one run scored. He flashed the leather with a spectacular diving catch in center field.
Game 2 was another scoreless game until the fourth inning. In the fourth, the RiverCats got the offense going and put up six runs. After loading the bases, the top of the RiverCats’ order got a couple of hits and brought in some runs. On one play, Challis-Mackay had the bases loaded and brought all three base runners home on a ground ball to third base.
On the hitting end, the RiverCats had a total of seven hits. Papac and Millick each had one hit and two RBIs. Millick also had a triple. Seven RiverCats got one hit during the game.
Nolan Moorman pitched a dominant game for the RiverCats. He pitched six innings and kept the Cougars off balance at the plate. He got a lot of ground balls for Challis-Mackay’s defense. Austin Ollar came in and shut the door after a couple of runs scored off passed balls and a controversial call at home plate that would have ended the game. Finally, Austin Ollar struck out the last batter and the RiverCats dogpiled on the infield grass to celebrate their second district championship in three years.