Varsity Extra

Price carries Timberline to second 5A baseball championship in three years

Doctors delivered Parker Price into the world at 3:30 p.m. on May 16, 1997.

Eighteen years later, on May 16, 2015, he delivered his father another state championship.

The junior threw seven shutout innings of relief and led a seventh-inning rally in Timberline’s come-from-behind, 5-3 victory over Lewiston in the 5A state high school baseball championship at Memorial Stadium.

Timberline coach Larry Price, winner of 11 high school state titles and 16 Legion championships, has said repeatedly his son is just another member of the team. But after watching Parker Price bail the Wolves (26-4) out of a first-inning jam, deliver the game-winning hit and then hand his youngest son a state championship trophy on his 18th birthday, Larry Price admitted the moment was a little more special.

“Yeah, it is,” said Larry Price, who coached Boise to a state semifinal win two hours after Parker’s birth in 1997 and a state title the next day. “The season is over now and we’re state champs. I was elated for my son. I’m excited.”

Parker Price dominated the tournament on the mound and at the plate. He finished the three-game tournament 8-for-13 with three doubles and a triple. And in 12 innings pitched, he held opponents to one run on 11 hits and earned two wins, making him 13-2 and extending his school record for wins in a single season.

Lewiston (23-6) nearly broke the game open in the bottom of the first, plating three runs before pitcher Jake Taylor recorded an out.

Larry Price made the quick switch, bringing in his son, who threw five innings Thursday in the first round. Parker Price blanked Lewiston for seven innings.

“I just kept telling my guys, ‘Just get us the lead. Get us the lead and we’ll win this thing,’ ” Parker Price said. “I was feeling good. Everything was working for me. I just wanted the opportunity.”

That opportunity didn’t come until the top of the seventh, which Timberline entered trailing 3-2 and down to its final three outs.

No. 9 hitter Cole Ducharme grounded a ball back up the middle off pitcher Mikel Jensen’s foot and hustled down the line for a single. Payton Harris followed with a walk, putting the go-ahead runner on base with one out and Price due up.

Price, 0-for-3 on the day, approached his father down the third-base line and asked if he should bunt to move the tying run 90 feet from home.

The coach told his son to swing away. Two pitches later, he crushed a two-run double deep to right, stood tall on second base and screamed toward his dugout.

“Even though he had popped up a few times today, I had to let him have an opportunity,” Larry Price said. “He asked me what I wanted him to do as far as a bunt, and I told him, ‘I’m not bunting you. In my opinion, you’re the best hitter in the state. And I’m going to let you swing.’ ”

Taylor followed with a two-out RBI double to right field, bringing home Price for an insurance run. But the Wolves still needed three more outs for their second title in three years and sixth in the school’s 16-year history.

Parker Price admitted his heart pounded to start the bottom of the seventh. But third baseman Brian Ulrickson told him he would tackle him as hard as he could once Timberline made the last out.

That drew a laugh and settled Parker Price’s nerves. The Wolves squeezed the final out on a weak pop up, Ulrickson delivered a bone-crushing hit and Timberline dog piled on top of its state tournament conqueror to cap the come-from-behind victory.

“We just had to get it done,” Harris said. “It didn’t matter how. We weren’t going to lose this game. This is what we’ve been working for ever since I was little. I just wanted this so much. We came together as a team in that last inning and got it done.”

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