The Coeur d’Alene High baseball team will play in the State A-1 championship game tonight largely because of a second straight dose of Casey on the mound and his teammates at the bat.
That’s Casey as in the lanky 6-foot-6 right-hander Casey Hoorelbeke, who picked up a second victory in two days in relief as the Vikings topped previously undefeated Skyline of Idaho Falls 15-8 Friday.
Coeur d’Alene (19-5), which has scored 27 runs in two state victories, will need another offensive outburst when it takes on defending state champion Boise (27-2).
The title game begins at 6:30 PDT at Les Bois Junior High, which is Boise’s home field.
Boise advanced by shutting out Lake City in five innings, 12-0.
LC (14-11) will play for third place at 2 against Skyline (25-1).
Coeur d’Alene 15, Skyline 8
The Vikings’ starting pitching has struggled. But who needs it when there’s a capable fireman in the bullpen?
Under normal circumstances, Hoorelbeke (7-2) would be CdA’s starter tonight as the Viks’ third pitcher in the rotation.
State rules limit the number of days and innings a pitcher can throw, and even if Hoorelbeke could pitch today, CdA coach Brian Holgate was undecided. He said he may start left-handed sophomore Kirk Gosch, who saw limited innings as the No. 4 pitcher on the staff.
“If my arm is OK in the morning I want the ball,” Hoorelbeke said. “Right now it doesn’t hurt at all. I didn’t lose anything (Friday night).”
Hoorelbeke entered in the fourth inning with the Viks ahead 8-6. He allowed back-to-back singles as Skyline tied the score.
But Hoorelbeke blanked the Grizzlies the final three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three, including the final batter.
“Coming in in relief and shutting the door - that’s pretty good for a junior,” Holgate said of Hoorelbeke.
During that span, CdA scored seven runs to put the game away.
Skyline opened a 6-3 lead through three innings before CdA’s bats took over. The Viks scored five runs in the fourth to take the lead back at 8-6. Mark Scates had a two-run homer and Joe Wagner added a run-scoring single in the inning.
In the Viks’ five-run fifth, Wagner had a two-run single, Andy Gore drove in a run and Hoorelbeke helped himself with an RBI single. Scates, rebounding from a poor start on Thursday, went 4 for 5 and fell a double short of hitting for the cycle.
Asked about the title game, Hoorelbeke needed just two words: “It’s ours.”
It’s the second time in three years CdA has advanced to the title game. The Viks fell to Lewiston in 1994.
Boise 12, Lake City 0
Timberwolves coach Cory Bridges didn’t offer any excuses.
“We got beat by a better team,” Bridges said. “The only thing I’ll say is it probably should have been closer.”
Bridges’ T-Wolves were bucking against other intangibles beyond their control, too. Boise coach and Coeur d’Alene High grad Larry Price’s wife gave birth to a boy just 2 hours before the game.
Andy Potter, who Bridges said pitched a better game than the score indicated, praised the Braves.
“I thought they were tough,” Potter said. “I probably should have tried to mix it up on them a little more. They were just real good hitters.”
Boise ended the game with a sixrun fifth inning.
Bridges and his players are looking forward to the third-place game today.
“I told them (Friday) that all we had to do was win one to take home a trophy,” Bridges said of his overachieving T-Wolves.
LC third baseman Scott Moglia has a good feeling about today.
“We’re going to come out confident,” Moglia said. “We’re not going to be left empty-handed.”
LC, which has scored runs in bunches this season, managed just three hits.