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Idaho Falls uses big inning to down Sandpoint, advance to 4A consolation championship

By PAUL LAMBERT
Prsports@postregister.com

Junior Braxton Ball picked perfect time to break out of his state tournament doldrums, clearing the bases loaded with a 3-RBI double Friday during a 12-2, 6-inning mercy-rule win over Sandpoint.

Idaho Fall’s Braxton Ball runs to third base during the 4A District 5-6 baseball championship between Idaho Falls High School and Blackfoot High at Melaleuca Field on Friday, May 11, 2018. John Roark/ jroark@postregiter.com

Ball, the Idaho Falls High School cleanup hitter, was hitless at state prior to the game-breaking double — a shot that started an 11-run eruption for the Tigers.

Paul Wilson closed the deal with a bases loaded 2-RBI double down the third base line, pushing the lead to 12-2 and invoking the mercy rule mandate.

Trailing 2-1 entering the sixth inning Friday, the 4A Idaho State Baseball Tournament hosts put their home-field advantage on full display, thrilling a largely-partisan crowd at Melaleuca Field.

“Something clicked in our whole lineup, and we started squaring up the ball,” Ball said.

Tied at one and locked in a pitchers’ duel through four innings, Sandpoint got things going in the top of the fifth to break the stalemate with one run on three singles.

Sandpoint starting pitcher Tyrone Larsen made that slight lead stand until the Tigers put their first two on to start the sixth.

That resulted in a call to the bullpen for the Bulldogs, and the Tigers had plated six before an out was recorded. In all, Idaho Falls sent 15 to the plate in the inning.

Idaho Falls (21-7) will face Twin Falls (19-7) today at 10 a.m. in the 4A consolation championship, a rematch of the 2017 state championship final won by the Bruins.

“It would be nice to get some revenge and finish the season on a win, and get them to finish with a loss,” Ball said. “It’ll be fun.”

IDAHO FALLS 12, SANDPOINT 2 (6 Innings)

Sandpoint 001 10 — 2 5 2

Idaho Falls 010 00(11) — 12 8 1

SANDPOINT — Pitchers: Tyrone Larson 5 IP, 78 P, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 K, 3 BB; Preston Petitt 0.2 IP, 23 P, 5 H, 7 R, K; Alex Stockton 0 IP, 14 P, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB; Thomas Riley 5 P, H. Leading hitters: Hunter Donahoe 1-2, ; TYler Lehman 1-3, RBI; Preston Petitt 1-1, RBI.

IDAHO FALLS — Pitchers: Cannon Thompson 4 IP, 72 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB; Nate Rose 2 IP, 17 P, H. Leading hitters: Andrew Gregersen 2-3, 2 R, 2B; Paul Wilson 2-2, 2 R, 4 RBIs, 2B; Caden White 2-3, 2 RBIs, 3B; Braxton Ball 1-3, R, 23 RBIs, 3B.

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