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Yea, it was a pretty wild game ...
May 23, 2017
By Coach Tom Turpin

The Badger baseball team set a new standard in their 24 year program by playing in their very first 3A State Championship game last Saturday only to lose in heartbreaking fashion 19-16 against the three time defending State Champion Fruitland Grizzlies.

GAME 1 - Bonners Ferry – 10 Teton – 1

The Badgers started off the tournament with the first game last Thursday against the Teton Redskins of Driggs, Idaho. Teton scored the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning after their batter reached on an error and later scored on a RBI double to left center. The Badgers tied the score 1–1 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Brady Bateman hit a one out double to center field. He later scored on Jesse Dunham’s bases-loaded walk.

After Teton went quietly in the top of the sixth inning, the Badgers erupted for nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take control of the game. Brady Bateman and Nick Sabin both hit two run doubles in the inning and Dunham hit a RBI single.

Brady Bateman, Chris Sabin and Kevin Gray all went 2 for 3 in the game with Bateman, Nick Sabin and Gray all hitting doubles. Dunham got the win for the Badgers and improved his record to 6–0 in the season.

GAME 2 - Bonners Ferry – 5 Teton – 3

In 2011, The Payette Pirates and the Bonners Ferry Badgers faced off for the chance to play in the Championship like this one, only the Pirates prevailed 9–8 in extra innings.

This time, the Badgers were prepared and began the scoring in a big way in the top of the first inning.

After the first two batters were retired, Nick Sabin hit a single to left field to reach base. Jesse Dunham then crushed a towering shot over the 386 foot mark for a home run, only to be denied the four bagger after it was determined he missed touching home plate.

Sabin, however, scored on the official triple from Dunham. The Pirates responded in their half of the first inning when their hitter laced a one out triple to left center and later scored on another triple to make the score 1–1. Both teams went quietly in the second and third innings until the Badgers scored in the top of the fourth when Dunham reached on a one out error and later scored on another Pirate error.

The Badgers added two more runs on the top of the fifth inning to make the score 4–1, but the Pirates would not go away, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth to narrow the lead to 4–3 Bonners Ferry.

The Badgers added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning with a one out double to center field, later scored on Nick Sabin’s RBI single to left to make the score 5–3.

The Pirates went three up, three down in the bottom of the seventh to secure the very first trip to the Championship game for the Badgers.

Brady Bateman finished on the mound with a complete game, giving up four hits, striking out five and walking only two. The Badger offense was led Brady Bateman and Nick Sabin, both getting two hits while Chris Sabin, Jesse Dunham and Kaleb Stockton all got one hit.

State Championship Game – Fruitland – 19 Bonners Ferry – 16

The Fruitland Grizzlies had won the last seven of eight state titles in the 3A classification with three straight heading into the Championship game against the Bonners Ferry Badgers, who had never been in the Championship game in their 24 year history.

But the Badgers were not intimidated as they immediately put five runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning.

After Fruitland was retired in the top of the second, Bonners Ferry added four more runs to take an early 9–0 lead against the Grizzlies. But in the third and fourth innings, the Badger pitching fell apart as they gave up a total of 13 walks and two hit batters and the Fruitland Grizzlies took the lead 18–11 after the fourth inning.

The Badgers weren’t done, as they scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning with consecutive singles from Dunham, Walker, Seth Bateman and Kevin Gray to narrow the lead to 16–18 with two innings left. In the top of the sixth inning, Fruitland shortstop Zack Flannery hit a towering home run to left center to push the lead to 19–16, but the Badgers could not put together a string of hits of runs together to get back in the game.

Despite finishing second, the Badgers contributed to an Idaho state 3A baseball record for most runs in a championship game, with 35 runs topping by four the old record of 31. At over three and a half hours, it was also one of the longest state championship games as well.

Bonners Ferry outhit the Grizzlies 15 to 11 and committed only two errors to their four, but the 15 walks killed them.

"Yea, it was a pretty wild game," Turpin said later. "We missed a great opportunity but had a great season overall ... It's gonna be hard to match this year, but that's why you play the game!"

Seth Bateman had three hits while Brady Bateman, Jesse Dunham, Kevin Gray and Mason Eby all had two hits in the game. Brady Bateman, Chris Sabin and Dunham all had doubles for the Badgers.

Brady Bateman led the team with 6 hits (.600 batting average) in the tournament with 3 doubles followed by Chris Sabin, Jesse Dunham, Kevin Gray, Seth Bateman and Nick Sabin with four hits each. Nick Sabin led the team with 5 RBI followed by Dunham.

The Badger Baseball team finished the season 20–4 while sweeping the Intermountain League (9-0 twice) for the second consecutive season. With five seniors graduating and 10 juniors next season, the Badgers will be primed for another run at the Idaho State Title.
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