This week’s three-game series between the Idaho Falls and Bonneville baseball teams had the feel of two teams with lofty postseason aspirations.
So far this season, the Bees and Tigers have performed like the area’s top two teams, but by the time the final out was recorded Friday night at Melaleuca Field, the Tigers may have set themselves apart. Not only did Idaho Falls sweep the three-game series, the Tigers came out on top in every pitching duel, got the key hits, and seemingly took advantage of every opportunity. Pitchers helping their own cause? Check that box too.
“We hope this propels us forward,” Idaho Falls coach Trent Johnson said after his team celebrated a doubleheader sweep on Friday, 2-1 and 8-5. The Tigers won Thursday’s series opener 3-0 and improved to 10-3 overall and 6-1 in 4A District 6 play.
Skyline currently leads the conference with seven wins, but has yet to play Idaho Falls or Bonneville. The Grizzlies and Tigers play a three-game series next week.
Johnson said a renewed emphasis on pitching and defense has been a big factor in the team’s success so far.
“This is probably the biggest series we’ve played in a while,” said Paul Wilson, who picked up the pitching victory in the nightcap and also hit a two-run homer to stake I.F. to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. “Bonneville’s a really good team, and coming out with three wins, our confidence is high and we can compete with any team.”
Andrew Gregersen did the honors in Friday’s first game, holding the Bees without a hit until the fifth inning when Daniel Carroll blooped a single into left, but was cut down trying to stretch it into a double. Gregersen also contributed at the plate with an RBI double in the third that gave I.F. a 1-0 lead. Gregersen was masterful on the mound, striking out six and working around four walks. Gregersen also knocked in three runs in the second game.
Bees’ starter Caden Christensen gave up just the two runs in six innings in the opener, but that was all the Tigers needed. Bonneville (12-5, 6-3) did threaten in the seventh against the Tigers’ bullpen, loading the bases and scoring a run, but Jaxon Sorenson came in to get the final out and strand all three runners.
“They pitched well, they got timely hits, they did a lot of good things,” Bonneville coach Ryan Alexander said. “We did not do a lot of really good things.”
Alexander noted the pitching staff was up to the task, but the offense was stifled and didn’t make adjustments.
“I think it’s a good reality check and a good opportunity for us to reset and come back stronger and more focused and hungrier,” he said.
IDAHO FALLS 2, BONNEVILLE 1
Bonneville 000 000 1 – 1 3 0
I.F. 001 010 x – 2 7 1
BONNEVILLE – Pitchers: Caden Christensen 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 4 BB. Leading hitters: none. RBI: Christensen.
IDAHO FALLS – Pitchers: Andrew Gregersen 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 K, 4 BB; Nate Rose 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 3 BB; Jaxon Sorenson 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: 2B: Gregersen. RBI: Gregersen, Jaxon Sorenson.
IDAHO FALLS 8, BONNEVILLE 5
Bonneville 000 131 0 –5 7 1
I.F. 400 220 x –8 9 3
BONNEVILLE – Pitchers: Dylan Virgil 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Willie Nelson 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; Bruer Webster 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 K, 2 BB. Leading hitters: Caden Christensen 2-4, Tavyn Lords 2-4. RBI: Christensen, Alex Cortez 2.
IDAHO FALLS – Pitchers: Paul Wilson 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 4 BB; Jaxon Sorenson 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: Andrew Gregersen 2-3, Jaxon Sorenson 2-3, Braxton Ball 2-4. 2B: Gregersen 2. HR: Wilson. RBI: Gregersen 3, Wilson 2, Cabes Wollf, Nate Rose, Zack Bridges.