ISJ sports logo

POCATELLO RUNNIN’ REBELS 10, SKYLINE 5 (9)

The Pocatello Runnin’ Rebels nearly let their season slip away from them by blowing a 5-0 lead in a cascade of errors, but righted the ship and eventually beat Skyline 10-5 in a nine-inning marathon Wednesday at Minico High School to stay alive in the Double-A Idaho American Legion state tournament.

“It wasn’t pretty again, but we won, and we get to play another day,” Runnin’ Rebels coach Nick Sorrell said. “We have another opportunity to accomplish our goal.”

Runnin’ Rebels starter Jaxon Christensen was absolutely dominant, throwing a no-hitter through five innings.

Dalton Jones singled home a run in the top of the first and Pocatello led 1-0 until the fourth, when a two-run double by Payton Cleaves and a two-run single by Seth Nate pushed the lead to 5-0.

Christensen then cruised through the fourth and fifth, and appeared to be doing the same in the sixth despite the leadoff batter reaching on an error.

But with two outs, Skyline recorded its first hit of the game on a single to left.

Another error followed, allowing the Grizzlies to score their first run of the game, and Christensen hit the next batter to load the bases.

Back-to-back errors then followed, scoring three more runs to make it 5-4 before Christensen, still in the game, got a groundout to end the inning.

“Jaxon had a no-hitter going, and they had a little infield hit and then the wheels fell off for a little bit,” Sorrell said.

Nate came in to close the game in the seventh with Pocatello still up by one run, but after two quick outs, a two-base error in the outfield put the tying run on second base, and a single from the next batter brought him home.

Catcher Dylan Jester then caught the runner stealing to send the game to extras.

All told, Pocatello fielders made five errors over the sixth and seventh innings. All five runs surrendered by Christensen and Nate were unearned.

“There were a bunch of tough plays, infield plays that were going to be tough plays no matter what, and then we throw the ball away,” Sorrell said. “It snowballed on us really quick. There’s things we have to work on and learn from, some mistakes that could have been avoided.”

After a scoreless eighth, Pocatello didn’t leave much to chance with a five-run top of the ninth. Nate singled Cleaves home with the go-ahead run, and the Runnin’ Rebels stretched their lead from there on a run-scoring wild pitch, a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single by Easton Durham.

Riley Peck relieved Nate on the mound for the bottom of the ninth and worked around two singles for a scoreless inning to end it.

Although his heroics were likely forgotten by the game’s dramatic end, Christensen pitched a gem for Pocatello, giving up one hit and two walks while striking out 12 in six innings.

“He was spot-on with everything, his location and pitching, everything was spot-on,” Sorrell said. “He did an awesome job. He gave us a chance to win. He should have gotten the win, and then baseball happened.”

Cleaves and Nate each had three hits, with Nate driving in three.

Pocatello (35-8) plays the Twin Falls Cowboys on Thursday at 7 p.m.

BURLEY 9, BLACKFOOT AA 8

The Blackfoot Broncos were victimized by a walkoff for the second time in three games, as a wild pitch brought across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh for Burley, eliminating the Broncos from the Double-A state tournament Wednesday at Minico High School.

Blackfoot also lost its first game in the tournament, against the Idaho Falls Tigers on Monday, to a walkoff.

“We had a good state tournament,” Blackfoot coach Zach Reay said. “It’s just, the little things are magnified in those types of games.”

Against Burley, Blackfoot took control of a close game by scoring four runs in the top of the sixth for an 8-6 lead. Stryker Wood’s RBI double was the big blow in the inning, breaking a 6-6 tie.

The Broncos couldn’t hold the lead, though. A two-run error in the bottom of the inning allowed Burley to tie.

Jace Grimmett singled to lead off the top of the seventh for Blackfoot but was stranded on the basepaths, and with one out in the bottom of the inning, Burley’s Ramiro Garcia singled, stole second and third, and then scored on the passed ball with two outs to end it.

“We were dealing with an injury, and so we had some guys out of their normal positions,” Reay said. “One thing led to another and we just kind of let it slip.”

Payton Brooks and Eli Hayes drove in two runs apiece for Blackfoot.

“It’s a tough one,” Reay said. “It’s a season-ender and it stings, but if you reflect on the year, it was very positive. I think our future is pretty bright at Blackfoot. I’m really happy with the boys ... (just) the degree of determination, the resiliency, never giving up.”

The Broncos finished the season at 19-12.

POCATELLO RUNNIN’ REBELS 10, SKYLINE 5 (9)

Pocatello 100 400 005 — 10 11 5

Skyline 000 004 100 — 5 4 0

Pocatello — WP: Seth Nate. 2B: Payton Cleaves.

BURLEY 9, BLACKFOOT AA 8

Blackfoot 102 104 0 — 8 14 5

Burley 012 302 1 — 9 8 3

Blackfoot — LP: Jace Grimmett. 2B: Stryker Wood 2.

Burley — WP: Jace Robinson. 2B: Izaak Macias.