Coeur d’Alene sophomore Jake Pereira had all weekend to think about his assignment as the starting pitcher in the Vikings’ 5A Region I baseball tournament opener against their crosstown rivals.
Was he nervous?
“Not at all,” Pereira, a knuckleball-throwing righty, said after he limited Lake City to four hits in a 9-1 win Monday at Ted Page Field.
“He battled, didn’t he?” LC coach Darren Taylor said. “He was a competitor. He got himself out of a lot of jams. They’ve got to be proud of what he did.”
The No. 2-seeded Vikings (19-6), winners of 12 straight, visit top-seeded Lewiston (20-3) in the championship game today. No. 3 Lake City (9-14) plays host to No. 4 Post Falls (9-16) in an elimination game. Both begin at 4.
Lewiston handled Post Falls 12-0 in a run-rule shortened five innings.
Pereira (4-0), who had six strikeouts and four walks, wasn’t overpowering to be sure. It was more like baffling. The Timberwolves could never measure him.
“I thought we’d get to him at some point, but we just never did,” Taylor said. “We’re hitting .338, but no big hits today. That was the difference in the ballgame.”
It didn’t surprise CdA coach Nick Rook that Pereira met the challenge.
“He’s thrown consistent for us all year,” Rook said. “Jake’s one of those kids you know what you’ll get when you throw him out there. He comes out and throws strikes and makes the guys put the ball in play and keeps them off balance.”
It didn’t hurt that CdA gave Pereira some breathing space early. The Viks chased LC starter Justin Kerr after just one-third of an inning, scoring three runs. Ryan Dunton had an RBI double and Matt Cade had a run-scoring single before reliever Mike Truscello got two strikeouts for the final outs.
The Viks added single runs in the fourth and fifth before getting four in the sixth to secure the win. Cade and Alex Krapas had back-to-back two-run doubles in the sixth.
“Our intensity level was a little bit subject in the middle innings,” Rook said.
LC squandered some opportunities.
“We had a chance to put the pressure on them early … three or four times,” Taylor said. “Then all of a sudden the pressure turns around. It’s easy to play when you’re ahead in baseball. It’s hard to play when you’re behind. You start pressing.”
•Lewiston 12, Post Falls 0: Lewiston used a seven-run third inning to make Post Falls’ visit last about an hour.
Kevin Hawk had a three-run homer to go with an RBI double from Justin Podrabsky and a run-scoring single from Liam Park in the key inning.
Pitcher Johnny Rake had eight strikeouts and no walks while giving up just three hits, two of which were in the second inning.
4A Region I : Moscow, behind a two-hitter from Brian Sweeney, defeated visiting Lakeland 6-0.
The Bears (13-9) advance to the regional title game on Wednesday at Moscow. Lakeland (6-17) is at Sandpoint (8-16) at 4 in a loser-out game today. The winner would have to beat Moscow twice to earn the region’s lone state berth.
Moscow scored all six runs in the second inning. Sweeney, Nate Sanchez, Lane Brooks and Jake Helbling each had RBI singles.