BOISE – The seventh inning was quite a roller coaster for Sean Sutton on Thursday night.
In the top half, the Coeur d’Alene junior pitcher was knocked around for three hits, two walks and two runs as the Eagle Mustangs took a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom, it was Sutton’s turn to do the knocking. He fisted a game-winning RBI single through a drawn-in Eagle infield, capping a thrilling rally as the Vikings opened the 5A State baseball tournament with a 6-5 victory at Memorial Stadium.
“I really just wanted to pick up my teammates,” said Sutton, who finished 2 for 2 with two RBIs and pitched six solid innings before getting into trouble in the seventh. “I knew I let them down on the mound, so it felt great to get that base hit for the win.”
Coeur d’Alene’s rally started in the top of the seventh, when Logan Brastrup came in to relieve Sutton with the bases loaded, no outs and the Vikings already trailing 5-3. The junior right-hander got a shallow fly ball, a strikeout and a groundout to limit the damage, and the offense took things from there.
Third baseman Gibson Green got things started with a one-out single. Senior outfielder Levi Pereira followed with a double to right-center, catcher Kolby Dehaas was hit by a pitch and shortstop Nick Nyquist ripped a tying two-run double down the left-field line. That set the stage for Sutton, who finished things off with a liner through the middle.
“We’ve been a resilient team all season,” Coeur d’Alene coach Nick Rook said.
“We’ve won a lot of close games and we’ve lost some, too, but the kids just have a desire to succeed and they keep battling until that final out.”
Nyquist finished 3 for 4 at the plate, falling a home run short of the cycle in the spacious ballpark of the minor league Boise Hawks. His tying hit was his own bit of redemption after defensive miscues led to unearned Eagle runs in the first and sixth innings.
“It was just a huge win overall for the team,” Nyquist said. “We just kept battling and staying aggressive, and we came up with some big hits in clutch situations.”
Pereira added three hits for Coeur d’Alene (20-5), which advances to play Madison in a 7:15 p.m. semifinal today.
“This win definitely gives us a lot of momentum,” Sutton said. “I know Devin Kluss is going to throw well for us tomorrow, so hopefully we can keep swinging the bats well, play a little better defensively and come out with another W.”
Eagle pitcher J.T. Williams went the distance and took the loss. The speedy junior also went 3 for 4 at the plate and had three stolen bases.
Bishop Kelley 16, Moscow 0: Derek Thompson hit three home runs and Bowen Ogata added two more to power the Knights past the visiting Bears.
Connor Lindstrom had two hits for Moscow, which takes on Twin Falls today at noon in a loser-out game at BKHS in Boise.
Priest River 17, South Fremont 1: Dalton Sommer went 1 for 3 with three RBIs and struck out seven batters over three one-hit innings to lead the Spartans past the Cougars at Fruitland HS. PR (16-7) advances to the semifinal round with a 6 p.m. PDT game today against Fruitland, a 12-0 winner over Bear Lake.
Kimberely 10, Timberlake 0: The Bulldogs cruised past the Tigers in a first-round game at Fruitland HS. No other details were reported. Timberlake next plays Payette at 9 a.m. today in a loser-out game at Fruitland.
St. Maries 8, Melba 6: Dylan Nelson nailed down his first save of the season as the Lumberjacks held off the Mustangs in a first-round game in Nampa. St. Maries advances to a semifinal matchup with Nampa Christian today at 3 p.m. at Nampa’s Rodeo Park.