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Tigers fall short in 4A final

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The prospects of Idaho Falls High School’s first state baseball championship since 2002 were looking good.

The Tigers pushed across two runs on three hits in the opening inning of Saturday’s 4A state title game against tournament favorite Twin Falls.

Idaho Falls High School shortstop Hunter Leavitt makes a throw to first base during Saturday’s 4A state baseball championship game against Twin Falls at Bishop Kelly High School.

After sophomore Cannon Thompson set the Bruins down in order in the bottom of the first, the Tigers were back at it with a single from Braxton Ball to start the second. Two batters later Benson Packer roped a hard liner to center. Chase Hagl broke early and dove, catching the ball before it found the wall and led to another I.F. run. He did the same thing on the next batter, robbing a would-be hit and keeping another I.F. run off the board

The Bruins (27-3) took advantage of those plays, taking the lead for good in the third and slowly pulling away for an 8-3 win and their first state title since 2014.

“I never felt like we regained the momentum after those two plays,” Idaho Falls coach Pat Lloyd said. “We were hitting the ball hard and putting it in play and that changed the momentum, and we could never seem to get it back.”

But it was an amazing run for the Tigers, who claimed the 4A District 5-6 title a week ago and won two close games at the state tournament before losing to Twin Falls.

“It was a great ride,” Lloyd said. “‘m proud of all of the boys, the effort they put forth, the improvements they made.”

Seniors Hunter Leavitt and Jace Jones led the offense, with Leavitt drawing a walk and scoring a run and Jones going 1 for 3 with a walk, a run and an RBI. Lloyd had high praise for his seniors, which also includes Austin Staker, Spencer Egbert, Tanner Stohl and Derek Hurst.

“I’m heartbroken for the seniors, the six guys who will be leaving the program,” Lloyd said. “I told them after the game, they left this program in a much better spot than it was when they were freshman.”

He told the returning players to follow their example.

“I challenged the underclassmen to keep that going,” Lloyd said. “They should learn from the seniors and not settle.”

Sophomore Cannon Thompson took the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out five in five innings. Sophomore Caden White was 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI and sophomore Andrew Gregersen was 1 for 3 with a walk.

The Tigers finished the season 20-10.

TWIN FALLS 8, IDAHO FALLS 3

Idaho Falls 200 001 0 — 3 7 4

Twin Falls 003 203 x — 8 9 2

IDAHO FALLS — Pitchers: Cannon Thompson (L) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 3ER, 1BB, 5K; Derek Hurst 1IP, 2H, 3R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K. Leading hitters: Hunter Leavitt 0-2, BB, R; Thompson 1-4, 2B, R; Andrew Gregersen 1-3, BB; Jace Jones 1-3, BB, R, RBI; Caden White 1-3, 2B, RBI; Jackson Madsen 1-3; Braxton Ball 1-3; Tanner Stohl 1-3.

TWIN FALLS — Pitchers: Ryan Eller (W) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 4BB, 5K. Leading hitters: Tanner VanOstran 2-4, R, RBI; Chase Hagl 1-4, R; Aaron Brann 1-4, 2R, RBI; S. Holcomb 1-3, 2B, 3RBIs; Ryan Nolan 1-3, 2B, 2R, RBI.

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