The only thing more daunting than facing Bonneville right-hander Randon Hostert may be facing the Bees ace late in a game and needing to rally.
That was the case for Idaho Falls hitters in Wednesday’s 4A District 6 championship game at Melaleuca Field, as the Bees broke open a scoreless game and Hostert did the rest on the way to a convincing 13-2 victory.
With the win, Bonneville (21-6) advanced to the 4A state tournament beginning next Thursday. Idaho Falls (19-5), the district tournament’s top seed, will need to win a play-in game on Saturday against the winner of today’s Vallivue-Emmett game to continue its season. The play-in game is at Canyon Ridge High in Twin Falls.
It wasn’t that long ago that Bonneville coach Ryan Alexander lamented his team’s performance following a three-game series sweep at the hands of the rival Tigers.
When the outcome really mattered on Wednesday with a berth to the state tournament on the line, the Bees were the one’s celebrating at the end. They’ve won nine of 10 since last losing to the Tigers.
“Our long term goal was to be playing our best baseball going into the district and state tournaments,” Alexander said. “We focused on the things we needed to focus on … once that series was over it was in the rearview mirror.”
Hostert was sharp, scattering just six singles as he pitched into the seventh innings. That wasn’t surprising for the Utah-bound senior, who also knocked in two runs. What was surprising was how much the Tigers struggled in the field and having four pitchers combine to give up 14 hits and 13 runs. It was the first time all season Idaho Falls had surrendered double-digit runs and the two runs scored matched a season low.
I.F. coach Trent Johnson called the game uncharacteristic for his team, which entered on an eight-game win streak and had won 13 of 14. The Tigers finished with six errors and only four of the 13 runs were earned.
“This team is resilient,” Johnson said, noting the team’s seniors and their postseason experience. I.F. had won the past two 4A District 6 titles, while Bonneville had previously played in 5A.
“I’m not too concerned,” he said. “I think we’re going to come out and have two good days of practice and show up Saturday ready to go.”
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when the Bees plated two runs on RBI singles by Caden Christensen and Bruer Webster. The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the inning thanks in part to two Bees errors, but Hostert was able to get out of the inning unscathed. Bonneville added three runs in the fifth on a triple by Hostert and RBI hits from Willie Nelson and Webster.
That was enough support for Hostert.
“We just left that in the past,” Hostert said of the previous matchup. “This was a good team win.”
BONNEVILLE 13, IDAHO FALLS 2
Bonneville 0 0 0 2 4 1 6 – 13 15 2
Idaho Falls 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 – 2 7 6
BONNEVILLE – Pitchers: Randon Hostert 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 2 BB; Caden Christensen 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 1 BB. Leading hitters: Bruer Webster 2-5, Tavyn Lords 2-5, Hostert 3-4, Christensen 2-5, Jordan Perez 2-2, Willie Nelson 2-4. 3B: Hostert, Lords. RBI: Christensen, Hostert 2, Lords 2, Nelson 2, Webster 3.
IDAHO FALLS – Pitchers: Paul Wilson 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 3 BB; Andrew Gregersen 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Nate Rose 1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB; Jaxon Sorenson 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: RBI: Rose, Wilson.