Heading into the final series of the regular season, Skyview High coach Ryan Bobo wanted to make sure his team had plenty of motivation.
If a home loss a few weeks earlier to Bishop Kelly didn’t boil the Hawks’ blood enough, Bobo reminded his players they have the chance to make history.
“We don’t have a regular-season banner,” Bobo said. “Tomorrow is the day we hang a regular-season banner — if we take care of business.”
Having spoiled the Knights’ senior night celebration with an 11-7 win Thursday at Bishop Kelly, the two teams meet with the 4A Southern Idaho Conference title and the district tournament’s No. 1 seed on the line at 5 p.m. Friday at Skyview in Nampa.
Winner takes all.
“We just have to win one more. We knew that coming in though. We knew what our destiny was and we had control of our destiny,” said Bishop Kelly coach Derek McCormick, whose team beat Skyview 6-4 on April 14.
The Knights (11-12, 10-4) took control early Thursday, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning on catcher Joe Puzio’s two-run, line-drive double. Skyview (14-8, 11-3) countered with three runs in the top of the third, and the game was tied 3-3 through four innings.
“Bobo has done a really, really good job of getting us mentally tough and getting us ready for this exact moment,” said Skyview right fielder Rhys Vickers, who went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and four RBIs.
Trailing 6-5 with two outs in the fifth, BK senior shortstop Gage Jorgensen brought his teammates to their feet with a two-run triple to the gap in left field that came to a stop at the warning track for a 7-6 Knights advantage.
But the celebration was short-lived.
Earlier in the season, Bobo said a setback might have been the breaking point for his Hawks.
“(Bishop Kelly) answered and took the lead, for us to come back and answer, especially against (BK pitcher Tyler) Oldenberg, that just proves that there’s no quit in this group,” Bobo said.
Skyview countered with four runs in the sixth inning and then sent junior Jacob Hibbard to the mound to close out the Knights over the final two innings. The righty faced the minimum in the sixth and seventh innings with one strikeout and no hits.
“It was just a really fun, competitive game going back and forth,” Hibbard said. “I knew my team had my back, so all I needed to do was throw strikes, and we got it done.”