Facing elimination in the Double-A state tournament Tuesday, the Blackfoot Broncos found themselves playing the South Fremont Cougars for the second time in eight days, having fallen to the Cougars on July 20 by a 6-4 score.
Tuesday’s game at Minico High School was beginning to look a lot like that one, as the Broncos gave up single runs in the first four innings, two of them without the benefit of a hit, and trailed 4-1 going to the bottom of the fourth.
But unlike last week, Blackfoot fought back, flipping last week’s score for a 6-4 win to stay alive at state and eliminate South Fremont.
“I think it’s a huge win,” Blackfoot coach Zach Reay said. “That type of win shows a lot of heart, grit, determination, resiliency, never giving up and just keep battling and battling, leaving it all out there.”
The comeback started with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and when starting pitcher Candon Dahle walked the first batter he faced in the fifth inning, Reay made a call to the bullpen and in came Nate Goodwin, the team’s starting third baseman.
All Goodwin did after that was work through three innings without giving up a run. Blackfoot still trailed 4-3 going to the bottom of the sixth, but leadoff hitter Stryker Wood beat out an infield single and when Kyler Mills was able to turn a sacrifice bunt into a hit, the Broncos had things going their way. By the time they were done, they had scored three times to take the lead at 6-4 and with Goodwin on the mound, it was as good as done.
Goodwin retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to keep the Broncos alive. They’ll play another elimination game against Burley at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“We got another day to play ball,” Reay said. “We battled and grinded back. Played some small ball, put some pressure on the defense, and a couple of guys just had outstanding at bats, going down in the count, battling back, and getting runners home from third. ... I’m just proud of the boys, really happy with their mindset and their determination to never quit.”
In the other Double-A game involving a local team Tuesday, the Pocatello Runnin’ Rebels lost 9-2 to the Idaho Falls Tigers in a game that went final at press time.
BLACKFOOT BRONCOS AA 6, SOUTH FREMONT 4
South Fremont 111 100 0 — 4 5 2
Blackfoot 100 203 x — 6 11 1
South Fremont — LP: Bridger Erickson. 2B: Seth Klingler, Kaimen Peebles.
Blackfoot — WP: Nate Goodwin. 2B: Jaden Harris.