STATE HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL TOURNAMENTS: Lakeland walks to first-round win

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CALDWELL — It its last trip to the southern part of the state, the best the Lakeland High baseball could do was tie Blackfoot.

A lot of innings, practices and games later, the Hawks are one good game away from their first trip to the state 4A championship game since 2014.

Lakeland (12-12-2) took advantage of 10 walks by Minico pitching, Justin Dennison and Vanner Hegbloom drove in three runs apiece, and the Hawks blitzed the Spartans 12-2 in opening round of the state 4A baseball tournament on Thursday at Vallivue High.

Seven of Minico’s walks came in the third inning, when Lakeland scored nine runs.

Dennison struck out three for Lakeland in four innings, walking one.

“Justin pitched great and really broke the game open offensively for us in the third with a bases-clearing double down the left field line,” said 17-year Lakeland coach Jason Bradbury, whose team faces Bonneville (22-6) of Idaho Falls in a semifinal game today at 3 p.m.. “Vanner really squared the ball up nicely today and had three big RBIs. We’ve been working really hard with him to try to get him to simplify his swing.”

“The teams are really good down here, but I just keep telling my players that as long we don’t beat ourselves, I like our chances,” Bradbury said. “They’re not afraid of anybody and are really good when they play as a team. It’s a good first day for us, but we’ve got a long way to go and have to be ready for Bonneville tomorrow.”

Minico 020 00 — 2 3 2

Lakeland 009 12 — 12 6 1

Game called in 5th inning due to 10-run rule.

May, Giruad (3) and Twiss; Justin Dennison, Ezra Grigg (5) and Colton Aragon. W — Dennison. L — May.

HITS: Min — Schow, Chandler, Karpenter. LL — Taylor, Silva, Dennison, Clift, Hegbloom 2. 2B — Chandler, Dennison.

Marsh Valley 19

Timberlake 8, 5 inn.

IDAHO FALLS — The bats woke up for Timberlake on a record-breaking hit by senior Kobe Harris.

But it was too little, too late in the opening round.

Harris hit an inside-the-park grand slam to spark an eight-run fifth inning for the Tigers (16-9-1), who fell into a 19-0 hole against the Eagles (16-5) of Arimo after four innings in the opening round of the state 3A tournament at Melaleuca Field.

“We didn’t execute and our pitching just wasn’t there today,” said third-year Timberlake coach Cameron Knigge, whose team faces Homedale (16-10) in a loser-out game at 9 a.m. PDT in Idaho Falls. “Marsh Valley hit the ball very well today, but seven walks by our pitching doomed us. When they’d get guys on, they’d smash the ball. It just wasn’t clicking for us today.”

On his grand slam, Harris moved the 35 RBIs on the season, breaking a tie for the school record.

“We had the potential to get some more runs on the board,” Knigge said. “After Kobe had that hit, hitting was contagious. But we dug ourselves too big of a hole.”

With the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, the third out was called when a Timberlake player swung, but missed, at a pitch with two strikes, and the ball hit him. The home plate umpire called a foul ball, but was overruled by the first base umpire, ending the game.

“We had some good things happen,” Knigge said. “I think we gave ourselves a spark going into tomorrow.”

Timberlake 000 08 — 8 7 4

Marsh Valley 523 9x — 19 13 4

Game called in 5th inning due to 10-run rule.

Jack McDonald, Alex Drake (4) and Louis Powell; Bronx Holbrook, Andrew Anderson (5), Payton Howel (5) and Payton Cambell. W — Holbrook. L — McDonald.

HITS: TL — McDonald 2, Harris, Larsen, Drake 2, Benefield. MV — Anderson 2, Cambell, Bodily 2, Branson 2, Bennett, Holbrook, Morrison, Howell, Lloyd 2. 3B — Anderson, Holbrook. HR — Harris, Anderson.

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