The Mountain Home Tigers closed out their regular season schedule by taking their conference series from Emmett before they opened District play with a win at Kuna.
The Tigers got a great pitching effort from Jared Day last Thursday at Mountain Home during Senior Night. He also helped himself out at the plate with two hits and drove in two runs in a 4-0 win.
Mountain Home scored two runs in the second inning and added single runs in the third and fourth. Mountain Home got six good innings from Jared Day, who scattered six hits and struck out six to improve to 5-2 on the season.
Gage Curtis pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
Besides the single and double and two RBIs by Jared Day, Skyler Podesek had an RBI-single while Austin Bodily and Gage Curtis also had hits.
At Emmett on Friday, the Tigers took the lead for good in the fourth on their way to a 9-6 win.
Alex Rodriguez struck out nine in six innings of work, improving to 3-6 on the season while helping himself out at the plate with two hits and two RBIs. Jake Hennessey had two hits and drove in a run, Joe Gutierrez had an RBI-single while Danny Brescia and Austin Bodily also had hits. Meanwhile, Bodily scored three runs along with Skyler Podesek.
Tigers head coach Mark Cotton was happy with the win.
"We'll take it," he said. "We made numerous mistakes today and just happened to get away with it with obviously good pitching and playing good defense for the most part. We tried to let them get back in it at the end."
The coach liked the team's chances going into District.
"I think we can compete with anybody," he said. "The main thing that concerns me going into the tournament is our level of intensity. I don't care who you're playing or where you're playing. You've got to come to play, and I don't think we did that today. Hopefully, everybody will step their game up for the district tournament."
Tigers 9, Kuna 7
The Tigers went into the District III 4A Baseball Tourney as the number five seed and opened against fourth-seeded Kuna. The Kavemen had swept the Tigers in two, one-run ball games during the regular season.
For a good share of the game, it looked like the Kavemen would continue their mastery of the Tigers, but Mountain Home erupted for five runs in the top of the seventh to take a 9-7 lead then held off the Kavemen for the win.
The Tigers broke open a scoreless game in the top of the third to take a 1-0 lead, but Kuna put together three straight hits and took advantage of four walks to score five times in the bottom half of the inning to go up 5-1. They chased Tiger starter Jared Day with two more runs in the fourth to go up 7-1.
Gage Curtis pitched three innings of scoreless relief, and Mountain Home was able to score three runs in the fifth to the make it 7-4 in favor of Kuna.
The Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh and tied the game at seven off an RBI-single by Alex Burke. The Mountain Home team took the lead on a squeeze bunt by Danny Brescia.
The Tigers also took advantage of Kuna errors to score another run and led 9-7 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Alex Rodriguez worked the seventh and got the save, shutting down the Kavemen.
"My heart's still up in my throat right now," Coach Cotton said after the game. "In all reality, we tried to lose that game in so many ways -- three base running errors, we left the bases loaded twice (and) we probably left 11 runners on base for the game."
Ultimately, the team came up big with timely hitting, the coach added.
"Alex Burke came through with a huge hit to tie the ball game, Danny Brescia squeezed home the go-ahead run... Alex Rodriguez coming in in the seventh and getting the job done there, so I'm just really proud of these guys. I feel like they're really starting to jell as a team. They have a lot of camaraderie, so we've got to take the same attitude into Bishop Kelly. If we can limit the base-running mistakes, I think we're going to be in really good shape."
Danny Brescia, Joe Gutierrez and Skyler Podesek each had two hits. Podesek and Brescia both scored two runs, Podesek knocked in two and Brescia added one. Gage Curtis had a double and Alex Burke had an RBI-single. Curtis picked up the win -- his first in four decisions, and Alex Rodriguez earned his first save.
The Tigers faced top-seeded Bishop Kelly on Monday in the semi-finals, with the winner of that game advancing to the District championship game on Friday with the loser set to play Tuesday in the consolation bracket.
The District champion and runner-up both advance to state with the third place team going to a state play-in game on Saturday.