CALDWELL — The Kuna offense had trouble figuring out how to hit Bonneville pitcher Bruer Webster in the opening game of the 4A State Baseball Tournament.
And once the Bees figured out how to hit Kuna pitcher Diego Hernandez, the Kavemen were never able to recover.
Bonneville broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday morning and Webster shut down Kuna’s offense allowing just three hits in a complete-game effort as Bonneville won 8-0. The Bees advance to today’s 4 p.m. 4A state semifinal against Lakeland at Vallivue High.
Webster retired the first eight Kuna batters he faced and finished the game with five strikeouts.
“As a pitcher, the first thing you want to do is locate and he located,” said Kuna coach Jesse Dodd. “The second thing would be movement and changing speeds. He had movement, changed speed and had enough velocity to keep you off balance. He did everything you could hope for from a pitcher, and he did it really well.”
The Bee’s No. 3 pitcher, according to Bonneville coach Ryan Alexander, had the outing of his season, never facing more than four batters in an inning and not allowing a Kuna runner to get to third base until a pair of errors in the seventh inning put runners at first and third with no outs.
But a double play, followed by a strikeout to helped preserve the shutout win for the senior.
“I just worked fast,” Webster said. “I knew I had a good defense behind me and made sure I pounded the zone.”
Hernandez matched Webster through the first three innings, allowing just a pair of second inning singles. But eventually the Bees (22-6) were able to get to the junior, who pitched five innings last week in the District III semifinal win against Nampa, then four innings in relief against Bishop Kelly in an eight-inning loss in the district championship.
After Caden Christensen led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a walk, Willie Nelson hit a ball over the wall in right field for a two-run home run. With runners at the corners, Alex Cortez added a two-run double to extend Bonneville’s lead to 4-0.
“Because of the unfamiliarity with the opponent today, we had to get through the first couple of innings, settle down,” Alexander said. “That allowed us to start hitting baseballs.”
With the lead, Webster was able to dial in after allowing a single to Grant Orme in the third inning and another single to Zac Rackham in the fourth. The Bonneville pitcher retired six of the next seven batters he faced, with a Logan Bundy walk representing Kuna’s only batter in the fifth or sixth innings.
“He’s thrown for us in the past, and he’s come in and kind of shut things down out of the bullpen,” Alexander said about Webster. “Kind of a change of pace a little bit. He threw the heck out of it today, good for him.”
BONNEVILLE 8, KUNA 0
Kuna 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 2 2
Bonneville 0 0 0 4 0 4 x — 8 7 2
KUNA — Pitchers: Diego Hernandez 5.1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 4 K, 6 BB; Matt Austin 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB.
BONNEVILLE — Pitchers: Bruer Webster 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 K, 1 BB. Leading hitters: Willie Nelson 2-4. 2B: Alex Cortez, Kai Howell. HR: Nelson. RBI: Caden Christensen, Cortez 2, Tavyn Lords, Nelson 2, Jordan Perez.