The coronavirus pandemic robbed high school athletes of their spring season in 2020. But Treasure Valley baseball teams made up for a bit Saturday, winning four of the five state baseball titles in 2021.
Timberline (5A), Bishop Kelly (4A), Weiser (3A) and Nampa Christian (2A) all hoisted championship banners around the state, adding an exclamation point to a season that began with fingers crossed as teams navigated COVID-19 safety measures.
The only classification without a Boise-area champion was 1A, where North Star Charter finished second in its inaugural season.
[Related: 5A to 1A state tournament scores, brackets]
5A BASEBALL STATE TOURNAMENT
TIMBERLINE WINS ANOTHER TITLE: The scoreboard at Timberline stands crowded with the years of previous state champions. But the Wolves will have to find room for another one.
Timberline routed Eagle 12-4 on Saturday, winning the program’s eighth state title since the school opened 22 years ago and giving the Wolves the opportunity to put up some fresh paint on the scoreboard.
“It’s honestly unreal,” Timberline catcher Junior Garcia said. “I’ve dreamed of this moment since I was 8. I’ve always wanted to do it. Just to be with these boys, it’s crazy. I don’t even think it’s real right now.”
The Wolves stormed Caldwell’s Wolfe Field on Saturday, piling atop pitcher Logan Miller after he recorded the final out. That wild celebration partially soothed last year’s disappointment, when the coronavirus pandemic canceled a season Timberline entered with state title expectations just as it was getting started.
Timberline senior Dylan Pike, his voice still raspy from the celebration, said the Wolves made sure to include last year’s seniors in this year’s run.
“We just opened our family to them,” Pike said. “We were doing this for them. … Losing that opportunity to do it with them (last year), we just wanted to make sure we got this one for them.”
Eagle drew first blood Saturday, scoring a single run in the second inning. But single runs don’t faze 5A’s top run-scoring offense.
The Wolves answered with six runs in the third inning to put the game out of reach. Pike and Garcia both delivered two-run, bases-loaded singles in the inning for the bulk of the damage.
“When we start rolling, there’s nobody in the state — or anybody that we’ve ever faced — that can stop us,” Pike said. “When everyone in our lineup is rolling, we’re a steamroll. We can’t be stopped.”
Timberline played add on, scoring in every inning the rest of the way, including four runs in the sixth. But Eagle made one last threat.
The Mustangs cut the lead to 8-4 in the top of the sixth and had two runners on with just one out. So Timberline turned to Logan Miller, a junior pitcher committed to Oregon State.
The right-hander had only thrown eight innings this season as he nursed a sore back. But with a state title on the line and a doctor’s assurance he couldn’t do any more damage to it, the Wolves put the ball in his hand.
Miller only needed one pitch to get out of the jam, inducing an inning-ending double play and then throwing a scoreless seventh inning to set off a celebration more than a year in the making.
Pike, Garcia and Timberline coach Casey Coberly all said a year away from the baseball diamond made Saturday’s championship even more meaningful.
“These guys, as well as I, live, breathe and eat baseball,” Coberly said. “So it was a tough one. But they handled it well and they just continued to put in the work.”
ROCKY MOUNTAIN TAKES THIRD: Emilio Bengoechea’s walk-off single through the left side of the infield lifted the Grizzlies to an 8-7 win over Mountain View in a seesaw battle.
Rocky Mountain (22-6) led 6-3 entering the seventh. Mountain View (19-12) rallied with four runs in the top of the inning to take the lead. But Bengoechea’s two-run, bases-loaded single sent the Grizzlies home with a trophy.
This is a breaking news story. Check back later for a full story including 4A, 3A and 2A.