The Skyview Hawks did not get to this point on just one arm.
While the Hawks have a Division I pitcher in Minnesota-bound Toby Anderson, they also boast a young strikeout whiz who brought out one of his best performances for the 4A state baseball semifinals Friday.
Sophomore Sage Diehm struck out 11 Emmett Huskies and allowed only one hit in a 5-1 win as Skyview advanced to Saturday's state championship, where it faces undefeated Bonneville, a 10-4 winner over Bishop Kelly.
"Sage has a live arm, his curveball is good, and he works at it non-stop - and it showed," Skyview coach Ryan Bobo said. "He challenged guys when he got behind, just showed no fear."
Skyview (18-7) and Bonneville (25-0) will face off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Kelly High, while Emmett (14-14) and Bishop Kelly (23-4) play for third place at 1 p.m.
On Friday, Diehm worked all seven innings, allowing just a first-inning single to Seth Larson. He did not allow another runner into scoring position until the seventh and the lone run Diehm yielded came on a strikeout.
Diehm struck out Porter Gustin, but the pitch got past catcher Tanner Ashworth, and Wyatt Smith, who advanced earlier on an error and a passed ball, came in to score.
"I was just trying to mix it up best I could," said Diehm, who has 73 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings this season. "I wasn't thinking about the shutout, I just wanted the win."
After an error allowed Gustin on base to lead off the second inning, Diehm sat down 15 straight batters.
During Diehm's perfect run, which lasted between the second and sixth innings, no balls left the infield, getting either strikeouts or balls hit right to Hawks infielders.
"He's got good velocity, but his (curveball) was really good, and that got us off balance," said Emmett coach Shad Larson, who added that his team had "some really, really ugly approaches at the plate."
The Hawks got all the runs they would need in the second inning, when Casey Bennett stroked a two-run double off the right field wall to take a 2-0 lead. Bennett also had an RBI single in the fourth inning. He will put his 7-1 mark on the line as the starting pitcher Saturday against Bonneville.
"The way Sage threw (Friday), it just makes things so much easier for our hitters," Bobo said. "We had to work and manufacture some things. Our execution was good."
BONNEVILLE 10, BISHOP KELLY 4
Bishop Kelly junior pitcher Bowen Ogata was 27-0 in varsity starts coming into Friday night's 4A semifinal. Bonneville had not lost all season long.
"Something had to give," Bishop Kelly coach Bobby Sutcliffe said.
The Bees got five extra-base hits in a 10-4 win to advance to the state championship, while four of their six runners put on via walks scored.
"We knew we were facing one of the top pitchers, and the guys had the mindset of doing whatever they could to get on base, then find someone to get a big hit," Bonneville coach Joldy Watts said.
The first inning was a harbinger of things to come for Sutcliffe's squad with two errors, one that allowed a run to score. With two outs, No. 5 hitter Jalen Fuhriman came up for Bonneville and he popped up foul near third base - Knights third baseman David Pogue got under it near the fence, but the sun-soaked ball hit him in the mouth, knocking out a tooth.
Pogue quickly returned, albeit with a new jersey to replace the bloody one, and with cotton jammed up both nostrils.
"I hadn't seen stuff like that all year," Sutcliffe said. "That was kind of like a knockout punch sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way."
Bonneville built an 8-1 lead before the Knights found a bit of hitting success, but it was too little, too late. Austin Udy had a three-run double in the third inning and Tyson Craig had a three-run home run in the fourth for the Bees, who also got three hits from Lincoln Clayton.
"I think there is some pressure at times to stay perfect, but they've taken it one game at a time, and there's only one left," Watts said. " we lost to Skyview in state last year, and our guys were young, but they didn't forget."
BLACKFOOT, TWIN FALLS IN CONSOLATION
The Blackfoot Broncos will face off against Twin Falls in the consolation championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bishop Kelly High. Blackfoot defeated Minico 4-3 on Friday, while Twin Falls topped Moscow 13-3.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn