BOISE – Thursday’s State 5A tournament opener was a wild rollercoaster ride for the Coeur d’Alene baseball team.
But after a thrilling series of ups, downs, twists and turns, the Vikings’ championship dreams were dashed by a 10-8, extra-innings loss to Capital at Memorial Stadium.
Coach Nick Rook’s squad rallied to erase an 8-2 deficit, but Capital took advantage of an eighth-inning error – the Vikings’ fourth of the day – and escaped with the victory.
Coeur d’Alene (20-5) falls into the elimination bracket, where it will face Highland (22-3) at 9 a.m. today. Capital (17-6) moves on to play Mountain View (17-10) in an all-District 3 semifinal.
“Our kids are battlers,” Rook said. “They never quit, and I’m proud of that. But it’s frustrating… The game just came down to one or two plays that didn’t go our way, and we’re in the loser’s bracket.”
Capital 10, Coeur d’Alene 8: Vikings pitcher Colby Kennedy had a shaky start, loading the bases with no outs in each of the first two innings. Capital only managed one run in the first, but the Eagles tacked on three in the second to take a 4-0 lead as Rook was forced to bring in reliever Elliot Sparks.
Senior slugger Sean Sutton put the Vikings on the board in the second with a towering homer to right. The teams traded runs in the fourth to make it 5-2, but Capital appeared to put the hammer down with a three-run fifth that was aided by two CdA errors and a wild pitch.
But in the bottom of the fifth, the Vikings unleashed the offensive firepower that’s been their calling card. With one out, Gibson Green, Kolby DeHaas and Nick Nyquist hit consecutive singles, with Nyquist’s scoring Green to make it 8-3.
Sutton followed with a two-run double and Devin Kluss’ RBI hit made it 8-6.
Capital reliever Branic Bailey finally recorded the second out, but with runners on second and third, Rook made the gutsy call to bring in pinch-hitter Reggie Nault, a freshman with limited varsity experience.
The move paid off as Nault delivered a tying two-run double.
The game remained tied through seven innings, but Capital struck quickly in the extra inning. Conner Poulson singled, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and then scored when a sharp grounder got past Sutton at first base. Garret Pearson’s sac fly added an insurance run, and Coeur d’Alene couldn’t muster another rally against Colbi Paul, Capital’s shut-down reliever.
Lakeland 4, Jerome 3: Dylan Piva tripled home the winning run to cap a 3-for-3 day at the plate and the Hawks got past the Tigers in a first-round game at Nampa. Lakeland next plays Skyview tonight at 7.