Thursday, June 24, 2021

Badger baseball ends at state tournament

Staff Writer | May 26, 2021 12:00 PM

The Badger baseball team came back strong after a year with no spring season in 2020 because of COVID-19 disruptions to high school sports. However, even after a skipped season, the Badgers could get back into high gear and played a competitive season.

Badgers captured the Intermountain league title and district championship, with a trip to state competition last seen in 2018.

The team was very young and comprised of one freshman, nine sophomores, two juniors and only one senior. Regardless, the baseball team was eager to show what it was capable of, showed promise and was a force to be reckoned with — potentially creating a legacy of wins in the years to come.

The team started with a 3—6 record before the league games began. Then, in the IML, Badgers established a record of 10 wins and two losses, finishing 12-2 and heading to the 3A State Tournament.

In the State Tournament, the Badgers played Snake River, and in the bottom of the first inning, freshman Trey Bateman hit a three-run home run over the right field fence to take an early 3-0 lead.

Snake River came back to take the lead and was up 14-5 late in the game, but the Badgers worked diligently to close the gap with four runs in the top of the 6th inning and another four runs in the top of the 7th inning to get within one run of tying the game.

The game’s final inning saw Badgers with two outs, with a potential tying run at second and go-ahead run at first.

Trey Bateman came up to bat again, but the game ended on a strikeout.

The Badgers then played South Fremont in the consolation bracket but could not take the win, ending the season.

The Badgers overall record ended at 15-10 with the promise of reaching the State Tournament again next year.

The baseball team’s success saw three Badgers selected to the IML all-league team and junior Bo Batemen voted as the League MVP.

According to head coach Tom Turpin, “Bo Bateman was voted Intermountain League’s Most Valuable Player by the IML coaches while two of his teammates were also recognized on the All-League Team.”

Bateman batted .500 in the league getting 24 hits, including three triples, 23 RBIs, and 21 runs in just 12 twelve games.

“In 55 plate appearances, he only struck out four times, Bo was the best catcher in league this year while also playing middle infield,” Turpin said.

Sophomore Blake Rice batted .479 in league leading the team with 9 doubles, second in runs with 18; Rice played both second and third base and pitched for the Badgers.

Sophomore Pitcher Teigan Banning was 6—0 in league, including his no-hit performance against Kellogg early in the league slate. He finished with 46 strikeouts in 28 innings while leading the team with a 3.50 ERA and also batted .357 (third on the team) with 15 hits, four doubles, 12 RBI and 17 runs scored.

All season the Badgers showed improvement from effective base-stealing to great pitching, Turpin said. In addition, the Badgers were effective in staying in the game through chants motivational comments from the bench in support of the bat rotation.

Turpin built a team of young men who worked to improve their performance and remained humble regardless of their success.

After winning districts, a modest Banning was excited about his team’s win and wanted it known his team was a critical factor in his successful pitching against Timberlake.

“I pitched pretty decent and my defense just backed me up the whole game so I really didn’t have to do much,” Banning said, “Thanks for the defense.”

The team is overall compromised of underclassmen who will be returning to compete for a few years and have the chance to go back to state and bring back hardware to Bonners Ferry.