On one side, two unbeaten aces will duel for a spot in the state championship. On the other, the stakes are higher than ever for two familiar foes.
The final four in the 4A baseball state tournament features three teams from District Three - Skyview, which defeated Blackfoot 7-3 on Thursday; Emmett, which topped Minico 5-4; and Bishop Kelly, a 16-0 winner over Moscow.
The fourth, Bonneville, improved to 24-0 with a 3-2 win over Twin Falls.
"It's been a long time since it's been like this, but I feel like we're the underdogs, playing a powerhouse like them," said Bishop Kelly coach Bobby Sutcliffe, whose team hosts Bonneville at 7 p.m. Friday at Bishop Kelly High.
Sutcliffe said he's "99 percent sure" he will start junior Bowen Ogata on the mound Friday for the Knights (23-3). Ogata has not lost a varsity start. Bonneville will go with junior Kohl Hostert, who has committed to Oregon.
"It's going to be a heck of a ballgame," Bonneville coach Joldy Watts said. "It's the type of game you're here to play."
Skyview (17-7) and Emmett (14-13) will face off for the fourth time this season at 4 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at Bishop Kelly.
The previous three meetings were Skyview wins.
"They're tough," Emmett coach Shad Larson said. "Two of those losses were by one run."
The last time the two met, Skyview won 11-5 on May 7 in the District Three tournament. Both coaches are expecting Friday's game to be more akin to the first two.
"It's tough to beat anyone four times," Skyview coach Ryan Bobo said. " Their lineup is solid. We're going to have to pitch well."
BISHOP KELLY 16, MOSCOW 0 (5 INNINGS)
Derek Thompson's sheepish grin after the game balanced the immense excitement while trying to maintain some humility.
After all, the senior belted three of the Knights' six home runs and drove in eight RBIs in Bishop Kelly's blanking of Moscow.
"I've had three (strikeouts) in a day," Thompson said.
In his final weekend in a Knights uniform, Thompson saved his best for (almost) last with a two-RBI single and solo, two-run and three-run home runs to left, center and right field.
"It might be my best, it's definitely up there I don't think I've ever hit three in one game," Thompson said.
Thompson went 4-for-4, while Bowen Ogata and Garrett Lodge went 3-for-3. Ogata hit a pair of home runs, and Robby Degen also went deep. Degen and reliever Ross Clevenger combined to yield only two hits to the Bears (11-12). The Knights were also aided by six walks and four hit batters.
"The bats exploded," Sutcliffe said. " That was a statement game."
SKYVIEW 7, BLACKFOOT 3
The strengths that got Skyview to state, pitching and defense, had done their job for the most part, and the bats eventually followed suit.
The Hawks trailed the Broncos 3-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, but got their first eight batters on board, scattering four hits and scoring six runs. Toby Anderson finished the complete game, facing the minimum three batters in the top of the seventh.
"We were a little frustrated, but we kept working at it and broke through," Bobo said. "Hitting's a little contagious."
Matt Lightfoot tripled and Tanner Ashworth doubled during the Hawks' streak, with five different batters driving in runs.
"We really don't have that panic factor. We knew if we could get one, two runs across, we could get rolling," Ashworth said.
Colby Pearson had two hits, including a double, for Blackfoot (15-10), and struck out four in the no-decision.
EMMETT 5, MINICO 4
The Minico Spartans (19-8) had just two hits off Emmett pitcher Porter Gustin in the first five innings, then three walks and two wild pitches allowed the Spartans to cut the 5-1 Emmett lead to 5-4.
In the seventh, Larson stuck with Gustin. The sophomore yielded a single to Stetzen Wrigley, who made it to third with two out. Gustin struck out Daniel Freiburger to end it.
"I just looked at him and said, 'Are you the guy to finish this?'" Larson said. "He was mad after the sixth and wanted to show what he could do in the seventh."
Gustin struck out eight in the win, while his brother, Gunnar, had three hits, including a triple and a home run. Six Huskies had hits.
"It's only been the last few weeks the bottom of our lineup has really done well," Larson said. "It's good timing."
BONNEVILLE 3, TWIN FALLS 2
Jalen Fuhriman drove in Kohl Hostert on an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, then Lincoln Clayton put down the Bruins in order to seal the win and keep Bonneville unbeaten.
Fuhriman also homered, while Clayton added an RBI single at the plate and struck out 10 on the mound. Twin Falls falls to 20-8.
"It doesn't have to be pretty, and it wasn't, but we did enough to win, and that's what matters," Watts said.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420,Twitter: @IDS_southorn