Capital, Eagle will have one last showdown in 5A baseball state final

The 5A SIC rivals will meet for the fifth time this season.

tphibbs@idahostatesman.comMay 17, 2014 

— Capital and Eagle have been the two best high school baseball teams in the Valley all season.

Capital won the 5A Southern Idaho Conference regular season. Eagle won the District Three tournament.

Each team is 2-0 through the first two days of the state tournament.

On Saturday, they'll finish what they started, playing a rematch of the 2011 title game won by Eagle.


In August, Eagle junior Garrett Garven tore his labrum sliding into first base against Rocky Mountain. He underwent surgery, forcing him into a sling for six weeks. He still can't throw. He's not even listed in the official program after missing half the season.

In the fourth inning of Friday's semifinal, Garven completed his comeback with a bases-clearing triple in the fourth inning to give the Mustangs the victory.

"I never thought I'd be here. If you told me three months ago I'd hit the winning run against Rocky in the semifinals - I wouldn't have believed you," Garven said. "It's the moment you live for: Full count, two outs, bases loaded.

"You know what? Dreams come true."

Eagle coach Frank Wright described Garven's at-bat as a "moment he'll never forget."

"He still can't throw," Wright said, "but obviously he can hit."

Nathan Lainhart pitched seven strong innings for Eagle, registering seven strikeouts and allowing four hits. Washington commit J.T. Williams engineered an early 1-0 lead with an effortless double in the first inning.

The Grizzlies surged ahead in the third on JT Strickler's sacrifice fly, bringing Jackson Cluff home after a warning-track triple. Rocky threatened again in the sixth with the bases juiced, but Eagle escaped with a 6-4-3 double play.

Eagle is 4-0 against Capital this season.

"The laws of probability are certainly not on our side," Wright said. "However, we have beat them. It's like flipping a coin: 50-50 every time."


Capital's Sam Wong elegantly spun on the tips of his toes, pointing to the sky in harmony to his teammates' unified claps. Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" reverberated from the loudspeakers as Wong did his very best imitation of the "King of Pop."

The Eagles had reason to celebrate after securing a right to play for a state title.

"That's his thing," Capital pitcher Garret Pearson said of Wong. "He's the guy who brings life to our team, definitely one of the funny guys we like to have around."

Pearson pitched a complete game, striking out four and walking three while surrendering four hits.

"It's really just location and being able to trust my defense," Pearson said. "I was just having confidence with (my pitches) and my defense."

Capital coach Jerry Hollow didn't hesitate sending Pearson back out in the seventh with a one-run lead.

"We were loosening up (Jacob Foley) just in case," Hollow said. "I pulled them aside in the sixth and said, 'We've got three outs to go, who can get them?' (Garret) said, 'I'm ready, I got it' and Foles said, 'I got your back.' I said, 'It's your ball. Go get them.' "

The Eagles continued their offensive rampage with 11 hits, pushing their two-day total to 25 hits in 14 innings.

Coming off an 11-inning win over Highland on Thursday, Mountain View pestered the SIC's regular-season champion. Shortstop Connor Odneal personally accounted for 10 outs, including two double plays, and in the fourth inning Auggie Francis' two-run single gave the Mavericks a 2-1 advantage.

Alex Cloninger (3-for-3, two RBIs) furnished Capital's first run with a blooper to left in the second inning. Foley finished 2-for-2, including a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt, which eventually led to Landon Peterson's RBI single in the fourth.

"It's an exciting moment; trying to soak it up," Pearson said. "This was our goal to get there, but we're not quite done yet. Our goal is to win it."


Highland pitcher Aaron Pope finished with seven strikeouts, coughing up seven hits in the elimination-game win against the Vikings. The two programs entered with the two best records in the field Thursday.


Facing elimination with three outs left, Lewiston scored five runs in the top of the seventh to reverse the season-ending fate on Madison.

Trevor Phibbs: 377-6424; Twitter: @IDS_Phibbs

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