POCATELLO — As Blackfoot jogged back to its dugout to begin packing up, Century coach Duane Rawlings stood in front of his team, not yet ready to break his huddle.
As Rawlings went over Wednesday’s game with his team, Blackfoot coach Liam Pope enjoyed his sunflower seeds before helping clean out his team’s bench. Pope and the Broncos snapped a three-game losing streak with a 12-5 win at Halliwell Park over Century.
Blackfoot (5-4, 2-1 4A District 5-6) scored six runs in the top of the seventh frame to bury the Diamondbacks, whose early 2-0, second-inning lead did not hold up.
“We didn’t come ready to play,” Rawlings said. “I need to do a better job of getting these guys prepared, ready and focused. We’ll fix it. We are a better team than we showed today.”
The Broncos’ six-run final frame came on the heels of a methodical rally to pull ahead of the home Diamondbacks (3-4, 0-1 4A District 5-6). After falling behind 2-0 after two innings, Blackfoot scored one run in the third and two runs in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.
Blackfoot’s Carter Cooper tied the score with an RBI single and later scored on a passed ball to give the Broncos their first advantage of the game. Carlos Pimentel added an RBI single in the fifth, while Caleb Wilson and Jace Jorgensen added RBI doubles in the sixth inning to stretch the Broncos’ advantage to 6-2.
The top of the seventh frame featured three Century errors, allowing the Broncos to put an exclamation point on the game.
“We were putting the bat on the ball,” Pope said. “We were forcing the defense to answer questions. That was big.”
While the Broncos were slowly increasing their lead, the Diamondbacks struggled to cash in on their opportunities at the plate.
Century, who finished with three hits, had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, but could not put any runs on the scoreboard. Juan Pimentel stuck out Hudson Williams and Easton Lucero to end the threat.
“That was your momentum changer,” Pope said. “From there, we blew that game open. If Juan doesn’t get those outs, they have the momentum. Juan came in and shut the door. You can’t praise him enough. He got the job done.”
Juan Pimentel pitched in relief of starter Payson Mills, who pitched the first four innings of the game. Juan Pimentel walked three of the first four batters he faced before closing out the frame with two strikeouts.
Century struck out 10 times Wednesday, including five strikeouts with at least one runner in scoring position.
“That hurts,” Rawlings said. “It was still a tight game. If we get a base hit at any point, it’s different.”
Century left 12 runners on base and had one hit with a runner in scoring position. Blackfoot left 10 runners on base but had nine hits with runners in scoring position.
“We were crisp in key moments,” Pope said. “We got runners in scoring position and converted. That was big.”
After starting the season 2-0, the Diamondbacks have lost four of their last five games. Century and Blackfoot finish their three-game series Thursday at Blackout with a doubleheader.
“When we are good, we are really good,” Rawlings said. “When we are bad, we start to unravel. We have to fix that. That is falling on me.”
BLACKFOOT 12, CENTURY 5
Blackfoot 001 212 6 — 12 15 3
Century 020 000 3 — 5 3 3
Blackfoot — WP: Mills. 2B: Maddox, Jorgenson, Wilson (2). 3B: Mills
Century — LP: Losser.