BOISE – The Coeur d’Alene High baseball team’s hot hitting chilled Saturday night at Memorial Stadium – ending the Vikings’ run at a state title.
Timberline beat Coeur d’Alene 6-2 in the 5A state championship game. The Vikings scored two runs in the first inning – their ninth straight inning with at least two runs – but didn’t score again.
Senior Levi Pereira (2 for 4) and junior Nick Nyquist delivered the first-inning RBIs.
“We hit some balls really hard tonight and we hit some balls deep,” Coeur d’Alene coach Nick Rook said, “… and we hit it right at them.”
The Vikings finished at 21-6, including two wins at state. They were the first team from outside the Boise area to reach the final since Lake City in 2008.
“We’re extremely proud of our kids,” Rook said. “We continue to build. It’s a building block. Obviously, it’s disappointing to get to the game and not win it. … We’ll get back and we’ll be better next time.”
The Vikings’ outfield defense, which put them in trouble early in the semifinal game, cost them again Saturday. The Wolves (17-11) took a 3-2 lead on a safety-squeeze bunt in the fourth inning. With two outs, Cody Price lifted a fly ball to left-center field.
Center fielder Devin Kluss called for the ball, which seemed to drift away from him. Kluss eventually dove for it – and the ball trickled out of his glove for an RBI double. Timberline added another run for a 5-2 lead.
“When you’re playing down by one versus down by three or four, it’s completely different,” Rook said. “Obviously, that was a big play, but that wasn’t the game. We didn’t swing it as hot as we did yesterday.”
Price pitched four scoreless innings to close out the Vikings after that rally. He is the Wolves’ ace but didn’t start the game after throwing a complete game Thursday.
“This is what I’ve dreamed of – pitching in the state championship game and getting dogpiled on,” Price said. “It’s great.”
Timberline started 1-7 in league play this season. The Wolves were the seventh seed in the District 3 tournament, which they won with three straight victories.
“I can remember just standing out on our field with the lights on, just banging our heads together: ‘What are we doing? We need to turn this thing around’,” Price said.
“We did. And gosh, it’s just been a journey that I’ll never forget.”