5A state baseball roundup: Timberline lone District Three team in semis

ccripe@idahostatesman.comMay 17, 2013 

District Three's stranglehold on the 5A baseball state championship is in peril.

Coeur d'Alene and Madison rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning for walk-off victories in the last two quarterfinals Thursday at Memorial Stadium to leave just one of the five Treasure Valley entrants standing - Timberline.

Valley teams have won five straight titles, by five different schools, and produced both finalists each of the past four years.

"It's time to change that," Madison coach Luke Mecham said.

Timberline (15-11), which has won 11 of its past 14 games after a sluggish start, will meet Highland (23-3) at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Highland owns the tournament's best record and beat defending state champion Rocky Mountain in the tournament opener to serve notice that this wouldn't be District Three's private party this year.

Timberline, which was the No. 7 seed going into the district tournament, is 4-0 in postseason play.

"We kind of rode that wave (from the district tournament)," senior Cody Price said. "Hopefully we can keep it going for two more games."

Madison (11-12) faces Coeur d'Alene (20-5) at 7:15 p.m.

TIMBERLINE 4, BOISE 1

Price broke the school record with his 19th career win. It also was his third this season against the Braves (15-11) and his third already in the postseason.

Price scattered seven hits and a walk by limiting Boise to a 1-for-9 effort with runners in scoring position. He one-hit Boise last week in the district tournament.

"The thing about Cody is I wouldn't say he has a plus pitch in his arsenal, but he's a plus competitor," Boise coach Brad Dalton said. "He just competes. He throws strikes, gets ahead in counts, fields his position well - all those things just add up to a winner."

The Wolves also got some clutch hitting from junior second baseman Michael Stefanic, who singled home runs in the first and second innings to build a 3-1 lead. Tommy Barker tripled and scored an insurance run in the fifth.

"As soon as we had the lead," Cody Price said, "I took it within myself to finish it because that's all you can ask as a pitcher is for the lead, and you're supposed to come out and do the rest."

HIGHLAND 3, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 1

Highland lefthander Bo Burrup, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior and a BYU commit, struck out nine.

He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth created by three defensive mistakes behind him, allowing one unearned run. And he struck out J.T. Strickler to end the game with a man on base and Rocky Mountain (23-5) star Mason Smith (0-for-3) on deck.

"We knew he was good," Rocky Mountain coach Jake Taylor said of Burrup. "We had to compete better today at the plate than we did."

MADISON 2, BORAH 1

The Bobcats scored both their runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun the Lions (17-9).

"This is a special group," Mecham said. "We started out rough this year - 0-7. These kids - I have 12 seniors and they're not going to go out on a bad number. I'm proud of them. Getting down by one run almost motivated them more than anything else."

Borah took a 1-0 lead on Montana Bilger's RBI triple in the top of the sixth inning. The Lions might have led by more, but they wasted a two-out double in the first and a two-out triple in the fourth.

"We couldn't make any adjustments with that kid who threw," Borah coach Wes McAllaster said. "… It always seemed like we'd get something going with two outs. We didn't get it done early enough to make it happen."

The Bobcats wasted no time in the bottom of the seventh. Shade Boice singled, Evans doubled on a grounder down the third-base line with the Lions expecting a bunt and Marc Snell hit a grounder that drawn-in second baseman Connor Wood couldn't handle to tie it. An intentional walk loaded the bases with no outs and set the stage for senior Chase McWhorter.

McWhorter thought he won the game with a squeeze bunt that just rolled foul. Four pitches later, he bounced an RBI single into center.

COEUR D'ALENE 6, EAGLE 5

The Mustangs (17-9) scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead, then watched the Vikings smack two doubles and two singles in the bottom of the inning for the comeback win.

"The guys played pretty fearless, and they just continued to come back," Coeur d'Alene coach Nick Rook said. "We've done it several times this year. They've just got a lot of heart and they play well when it means a lot."

It was a tense but mistake-filled game that was destined to leave one team muttering under its breath. Coeur d'Alene was charged with four errors and botched a couple other plays on defense. Eagle made a bushel of baserunning blunders, including forgetting to tag at third base on a fly ball with no outs in the bottom of the seventh.

"It's a big stage and kids get a little nervous," Eagle coach Frank Wright said. "That heart rate goes up and all of a sudden you're in a situation you shouldn't be."

Coeur d'Alene's rally came with one out in the seventh. Gibson Green singled, Levi Pereira smoked a double in the gap, Kolby Dehaas was hit by a pitch and Nick Nyquist bounced a two-run double over the third baseman's head to tie it.

Sean Sutton, the starting pitcher, came to the plate with the infield drawn in and stroked a soft liner up the middle for the win.

"They just strung some hits together," Wright said. "… That's baseball. Sometimes they hit them right at you and sometimes they bounce them over you."

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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