CALDWELL — Idaho Falls began pouring out of the dugout as soon as Andrew Gregersen connected on the fastball.
Gregersen sent a missile down the third-base line, and teammate Jaxon Sorenson began chugging around the bases. Sorenson capped his dash from first base with a headfirst slide into home. The celebration was on as Gregersen’s walk-off double helped the Tigers beat Bishop Kelly 3-2 in the semifinals of the 4A state tournament Friday at Vallivue High School.
The Tigers (21-5) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to advance to Saturday’s title game at Vallivue against Bonneville, which beat Lakeland in the other semifinal.
“I got a barrel to it, and it felt awesome,” Gregersen said. “It’s senior year, I don’t want to go out like that. It’s really exciting for us. Making big plays at the biggest time is obviously one of the highlights of playing sports. I’m grateful to be in this opportunity.”
Gregersen’s heroics came after teammate Paul Wilson singled up the middle to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson scored Caden White, who started the frame with a double. Three of Idaho Falls’ six hits came in the final two frames.
Idaho Falls struggled to find its rhythm against Knights starting pitcher Josh Hagn, who held the Tigers to four hits and one earned run through five innings. The Tigers made hay against Connor Atherton, who replaced Hagn in the sixth.
“We are just guys being dudes this tournament,” Gregersen said. “We are dogs who are going to keep fighting.”
As Idaho Falls started its comeback, Wilson shored up his early struggles on the mound and shut down the Knights’ offense. The pitcher surrounded a pair of runs (one unearned) and two hits in the first inning before blanking the Knights on the scoreboard over the next five frames.
Wilson pitched six innings of five-hit ball, surrendering one earned run and striking out two. Sorenson replaced Wilson and closed the Knights out in the top of the seventh.
“Paul worked his tail off,” Gregersen said. “He couldn’t find it early, but he fought through it. He found every pitch.”
Idaho Falls cut its deficit to 2-1 on an RBI single from Sorenson, which was the squad’s first hit of the game after Hagn silenced the Tigers’ bats.
Sorenson’s at-bat set the wheels in motion for the Tigers, who are one win away from claiming state glory.
“Today was a dog fight,” Gregersen said. “We have dudes. We loved it.”
IDAHO FALLS 3, BISHOP KELLY 2
Bishop Kelly 200 000 0 – 2 6 0
Idaho Falls 001 001 1 – 3 6 1
BISHOP KELLY – Pitchers: Josh Hagan 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 3 BB. Top hitters: Nick Anewalt 2-4, Tyler Garrehy 2-2. 2B: Garrehy. RBI: Bailey Cunningham.
IDAHO FALLS – Pitchers: Paul Wilson 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 K, 5 BB. Jaxon Sorenson 1 IP, 1 H. Top hitters: Sorenson 1-2, Andrew Gregersen 1-4, Caden White 1-3, Wilson 1-2, Nate Rose 1-2, Zack Bridges 1-2. 2B: Gregersen, White. RBI: Gregersen, Sorenson, Wilson.