Varsity Extra

Only one team left to continue the 5A SIC’s championship streak

Timberline senior Jake Randall celebrates an RBI single with his teammates during the Wolves' first-round victory over Highland at the 5A state tournament Thursday at Borah.
Timberline senior Jake Randall celebrates an RBI single with his teammates during the Wolves' first-round victory over Highland at the 5A state tournament Thursday at Borah. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Only one Treasure Valley team remains in the hunt for a 5A state baseball title after the first round of the tournament.

Timberline drubbed Highland 17-5 in six innings Thursday at Borah High, making it the lone team capable of extending the Southern Idaho Conference championship streak. The league has placed at least one team in the 5A state finals each of the past 10 years, winning nine titles.

Defending state runner-up Timberline (17-10) will try to clinch a spot in the finals in a 6 p.m. semifinal Friday against Post Falls (16-11) at at Borah High.

The rest of the SIC went 0-for-3 on Day 1 of the state tournament. Lewiston held off Eagle, Bonneville dispatched Mountain View and, in the biggest upset of the day, Post Falls upset defending state champ Rocky Mountain.

Bonneville (23-5) takes on Lewiston (14-12) in the first semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at Borah.

[Related: Full state baseball, softball tournament brackets]

TIMBERLINE 17, HIGHLAND 5 (6)

Timberline entered the state tournament averaging a 5A-high 9.7 runs per game, and the Wolves wasted little proving that stat was no fluke.

Timberline sent 17 batters to the plate during a 12-run second inning on its way to mercy-ruling Highland. Leadoff hitter Jonah Hultberg belted a pair of two-run doubles in that inning alone.

“We can hit pretty deep into our lineup, and we’ve had some innings that were pretty good,” Timberline coach Kirk Copeland said. “But that was a little outside of the norm. They were all swinging and hitting.”

The outburst allowed Timberline to pull its ace pitcher, Jake Randall, after just 31 pitches, making him eligible to pitch in either the semifinals or a potential championship game Saturday. But Copeland said he hadn’t decided who to throw against Post Falls after Thursday’s lopsided win.

Highland chipped away at the lead, making it 12-5 in the fifth before Timberline erupted for five more runs in the sixth, including a three-run triple from senior first baseman Alex McFarland-Smith.

“We are capable of doing a lot of damage,” said McFarland-Smith, who finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs. “We’re definitely one of the most stacked lineups in the state.”

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Rocky Mountain lost to Post Falls 8-4 in the 5A baseball state tournament Thursday at Borah High. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

POST FALLS 8, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 4

Post Falls coach Mick Zeller asked his team to create a legacy last week. The Trojans set one by qualifying for the 5A tournament for the first time in program history. And they added to it Thursday, knocking off heavily favored Rocky Mountain.

“These guys have set the bar pretty high,” Zeller said. “It’s absolutely huge for our program and our school to do this.”

Rocky Mountain jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first inning, knocking around Post Falls senior pitcher Jake Pfennigs and his 93-mph fastball. But the 6-foot-7 Oregon State signee and rumored MLB Draft pick settled in from there, retiring 17 of the last 22 batters he faced and striking out nine.

“We found out the changeup was effective against them because they were hitting fastballs,” Pfennigs said. “They are a good fastball-hitting team, a good hitting team overall. They are tough to get out, so I really had to execute and lock in.”

Post Falls roughed up Rocky Mountain ace Gabe Hughes, a Gonzaga signee, for six runs (four earned) on eight hits over six innings to hand him his first loss of the season. The Trojans used a variety of small-ball tactics, including a successful suicide squeeze, to put pressure on the Grizzlies and force five errors from the SIC regular-season and district tournament champ.

Rocky Mountain (22-5) drops into the consolation bracket, where it faces Highland (15-11) at 5 p.m. Friday at Capital High.

LEWISTON 3, EAGLE 0

Two weeks ago, Lewiston wrapped up the regular season on a six-game losing streak and in last place in the Inland Empire League. What a difference two weeks can make.

The Bengals have since won their district tournament and kept their momentum rolling Thursday to advance to the state semifinals for the third time in four years.

“We had it in us. We just had a rough patch through league,” Lewiston coach Davey Steele said. “... We just put a couple games together, so we came down here thinking we can beat anybody if we play the way that we can.”

Junior pitcher Kyle Van Boeyen fired a five-hit shutout for Lewiston, striking out five and walking one. He didn’t overpower the Eagle (15-12) lineup, but he continued to induce weak contact all morning.

Steele said Van Boeyen had a rough regular season, then found his groove in the postseason. He threw a one-hit shutout against district favorite Lake City in his last outing.

“He finally kind of found it and he’s our No. 1,” Steele said. “We knew we had to use him in this one if we were going to get through it. He threw a phenomenal game. Nothing overpowering, but a lot of fly balls and ground balls and got us outs. He did his job.”

Eagle loaded the bases in the top of the seventh and brought the go-ahead run to the plate. But Van Boeyen worked out of the jam, sending the Mustangs to the consolation bracket, where they face Mountain View (20-7) at noon Friday at Capital.

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Bonneville first baseman WIllie Nelson makes the last out of the game in and 8-4 win against Mountain View in the first round of the 5A baseball state tournament Thursday at Borah High. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

BONNEVILLE 8, MOUNTAIN VIEW 4

Bonneville junior ace Randon Hostert admitted he didn’t have his best stuff Thursday. But the Bees’ lineup backed up the Utah commit sporting a 0.31 ERA entering the state tournament.

Bonneville racked up eight runs on 11 hits to win its 15th straight game and return to the state semifinals for the second straight year.

“It’s a pitcher’s dream for sure,” Hostert said. “They did an awesome job, and we needed it today.”

Bonneville wasted no time Thursday, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first and chasing Mountain View starting pitcher Jaydon Yancey after he only record one out.

“We wanted to hunt fastballs early in count, be aggressive and it worked out for us,” Bonneville coach Ryan Alexander said. “Guys had good approaches and it worked out for us early.”

Mountain View finally got to a cruising Hostert in the fifth, scoring three runs to cut the deficit to one. But the Bees answered with Andrew Olaveson’s two-run double and Willie Nelson’s two-run single in their half of the inning to put the game out of reach.

Hostert finished allowing a season-high four runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out five and plunking four batters. He had only allowed five runs (two earned) all season while striking out 72 in 44 ⅔ innings.

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Rocky Mountain junior Gabe Hughes pitches to a Post Falls batter during the first round of the 5A baseball state tournament Thursday at Borah High. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

4A: VALLEY TEAMS SWEEP

Darin Post gave up one run over seven innings to help Middleton (13-16) upset defending champion Twin Falls 7-1 on Thursday at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls. Middleton faces 4A SIC foe and reigning district champion Skyview (19-8) at 4 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The Hawks held off Blackfoot 2-1 as pitcher Bryson Vaughn struck out 10 in a complete-game victory. Vallivue made it a Treasure Valley sweep with its 8-3 win against Sandpoint. The Falcons (23-5) advance to face Minico (23-5) at 7 p.m. Friday.

3A: WEATHER SLOWS TOURNAMENT

Kimberly and Bonners Ferry — a 5-1 winner over Payette — meet in Friday's 4 p.m. semifinal at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Ore. Thursday's play was stopped several times for rain and lightning delays. Homedale (22-4) pulled out a 5-4 win over South Fremont thanks to a three-run home run from Chase Stoddard. The Trojans face Marsh Valley (20-3) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday.

2A: COLE VALLEY WINS OPENER

Cole Valley Christian (17-9) shut out Firth 3-0, setting up an all-West Idaho Conference semifinal matchup against Nampa Christian (17-8) at 5 p.m. Friday at Nampa Christian High. Nampa Christian advanced thanks to a 6-1 win over Challis-Mackay. The other semifinal starts at 2:30 p.m. and pits Grangeville against Malad, which beat Melba 4-2.

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