Idaho Falls High School seniors Madalyn and Kennedy Burton shared something Thursday that had only happened once before in their softball careers.
The twin sisters were responsible for driving in six of I.F.'s seven runs in Thursday's 7-1 win over School District 91 rival Skyline, combining to hit three two-run home runs. Two of those homers occurred in the top of the sixth inning, when Madalyn hit a two-run bomb over the left-field fence three batters after Kennedy hit one of her own to the exact same spot.
The twins said Thursday was the first time since their sophomore season that they both hit home runs in the same game, and the second time ever in their lives.
"We live by the philosophy of, 'Anything you can do, I can do better,'" said Madalyn, referencing the Irving Berlin song from the Broadway musical 'Annie Get Your Gun.'
"It was really cool," Kennedy added.
Idaho Falls head coach Traci Wilkinson said the Burtons are competitive in a good way, and Thursday's game demonstrated that.
"They help keep each other intact," Wilkinson said.
The Burtons helped provide a fiery ending to a game that began as a pitcher's duel. The lone run scored through the first four innings was by I.F.'s Kaitlin Moss off a bases-loaded walk by Jaidyn Clement with two outs in the second inning. Through four innings, the teams combined for four hits and six walks.
The Grizzlies knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Lindsay Gardels scored off an RBI single by Rylee Blanchard with two outs. The stalemate was short-lived, as the Tigers responded with four runs off four hits in the top of the sixth. Moss scored on Kennedy Burton's two-run home run with no outs and Kennedy Robertson scored off Madalyn Burton's two-run homer three batters later with one out.
"(Assistant coach) Tyler (Wilkinson) said, 'The team with the most heart is gonna win this game,'" Traci Wilkinson said of the Tigers' discussion entering the sixth inning. "I told them they have to forget about the rivalry aspect. They showed up. They didn't want to lose this game."
Kennedy Burton hit another two-run homer in the top of the seventh, scoring Moss with two outs. The Grizzlies were held to no hits in the final two frames.
"We knew we had to step it up today," Kennedy Burton said. "We knew we had to focus and get it done."
In addition to finishing 1 for 4 with the home run and two RBIs for Idaho Falls (13-2, 3-0 4A District 6), Madalyn Burton threw a complete game two-hitter. The senior allowed one earned run on two hits while walking two and striking out nine in seven innings for the Tigers.
"They adjusted to the pitching," Skyline head coach Brad Peters said of the Tigers. "I.F., they're definitely the powerhouse team on this side of the state with what they've done so far."
Blanchard, who pitched the final five innings for Skyline (0-4, 0-3 4A District 6), went 1 for 3 with an RBI while Gardels went 1 for 2.
Peters, in his first season as Skyline head coach upon the retirement of Tammy Sorensen, said Blanchard had rotator cuff surgery last year and Thursday's starting pitcher Ashlen Huntsman moved from second base to pitcher this season. He said the 2019 Grizzlies have only two seniors, which bodes well for the future, and added that they are a coachable group.
"They're getting a little bit better each game," Peters said. "I'm proud of the girls. We can compete with anybody."
The teams play again this afternoon. Both head coaches said the game is scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. at Feist Field in Tautphaus Park, but could get moved to Skyline or rescheduled if Tautphaus field conditions are poor. Thursday's game was moved from Tautphaus to Skyline for that reason.
IDAHO FALLS 7, SKYLINE 1
Idaho Falls 010 004 2—7 10 1
Skyline 000 010 0—1 2 0
IDAHO FALLS—Pitchers: Madalyn Burton 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 9 K, 2 BB. Leading hitters: Kennedy Burton 2-4, Kennedy Robertson 2-4, Kaitlin Moss 2-3. 2B: Moss, Robertson. HR: M. Burton, K. Burton 2. RBI: K. Burton 4, M. Burton 2, Jaidyn Clement. SB: Moss, Robertson.
SKYLINE—Pitchers: Ashlen Huntsman 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 K, 5 BB; Rylee Blanchard 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: none. RBI: Blanchard. SB: Huntsman, Lindsay Gardels.
Softball: IF takes 5-1 lead over Skyline thanks to four runs, Including homers by both Kennedy and Madalyn Burton, in top 6th. This was the celebration after Madalyn Burton ' s HR #idpreps pic.twitter.com/I15AmsYzIJ— Marlowe Hereford (@mwhereford) April 11, 2019