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Gregersen helps I.F. grab 3-2 opening-round win

By MARLOWE HEREFORD
mhereford@postregister.com

BOISE — In what became a pins and needles game, Andrew Gregersen provided the fireworks for the Idaho Falls High School baseball team.

The sophomore drove in senior Tanner Stohl to put I.F. up 3-1 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and made a diving catch in left-center field for the final out in the Tigers’ 3-2 win over Vallivue on Thursday in the first round of the 4A state baseball tournament at Bishop Kelly High School.

Spectators stood to get a better look once Vallivue’s Augustine Valdez smacked the ball toward left-center as Gregersen ran after it. His teammates were the first to see if the ball was caught, and they erupted into cheers and tackle hugs while Gregersen laid sprawled face down, glove out.

“I was like, ‘Thank goodness,’” Gregersen said. “I said that to Jace (Jones).”

The catch ended a seventh inning rally by Vallivue, which cut the deficit to 3-2 after a two-out, line-drive single by Gabe Childs and an error by Cannon Thompson in the next at-bat that allowed batter Zach Gipson to reach third and Childs to score.

Valdez stepped into the box with Gipson in position to tie the game, setting up Gregersen’s heroics. Neither he nor Idaho Falls coach Pat Lloyd said they were nervous during that inning or at any point of the punch-for-punch game.

“You coach to do everything to be in these particular games,” Lloyd said. “At the end of the year, am I gonna have a few more gray hairs? Probably. You want to be playing these types of games. That’s the way it should be. That was a very good game.”

Idaho Falls (19-9) was the first on the scoreboard with a two-out RBI double by Jackson Madsen that scored Jones in the bottom of the second. The Falcons (13-12) knotted the game with a sac fly by Valdez that scored Gipson in the top of the third. The stalemate remained until the bottom of the fifth, when a Gipson error allowed Madsen to score and put I.F. up 2-1 with one out. Two batters and one out later, Gregersen jacked a line-drive single to score Stohl for what would be the insurance run.

“It felt great,” Gregersen said. “I just knocked it to left field.”

Gregersen went 1 for 3 with an RBI, Stohl went 2 for 2 with a double and a run scored and Madsen went 1 for 3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Logan Ferguson took the win on the mound, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking none and striking out three in six innings.

Lloyd said Ferguson relieved starting pitcher Jones after one inning due to a blister. Jones could not get it to stop bleeding, so he was pulled for safety and health concerns for himself and the other players. Lloyd said Jones will be ready to pitch again this weekend if needed.

The Tigers will face the Skyview-Jerome winner in a 4 p.m. semifinal game today. As Lloyd told his players in Thursday’s post-game huddle, the Tigers aspire to do more than win in the first round of their first postseason appearance since 2012.

“We’re one of the types of teams that can win this,” Lloyd said. “I’ve known that since the day we had tryouts. I’m proud of all 17 of these boys. It’s been a blast.”

IDAHO FALLS 3, VALLIVUE 2
Vallivue 001 000 1—2 7 2
Idaho Falls 010 020 x—3 5 1
VALLIVUE—Pitchers: Zach Gipson 6 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K. Leading hitters: Gabe Childs 3-4, 2 R; Gipson 2-3, SB; Augustine Valdez 0-3, RBI, SF.
IDAHO FALLS—Pitchers: Jace Jones 1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K; Logan Ferguson 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Leading hitters: Tanner Stohl 2-2, 2B, R; Andrew Gregersen 1-3, RBI; Jones 1-3, R; Jackson Madsen 1-3, 2B, RBI, R

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