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Idaho Enterprise

Baseball Season starts in earnest

Timmy Jensen pitches for the Dragons against New Plymouth Photo Credit: Krishele Jensen

Taking to the field for the first time in the 2024 season, the Dragon baseball team began settling in to sounds of baseball, the pop of the mitt, the ping of the bat, the chatter from the dugout and defining calls from the umpire.  The first game of the new season is always a long anticipated one, especially when it seems like the season just can’t get rolling.  Starting off far better than the previous season that had snow lingering far into April, the Dragons can’t really complain, although it is still a challenge to head into the first regular season game without even having a full practice on the field.

Heading to the warmer side of the state, the Dragon baseball team opened up their 2024 as they put up their first three games of the season making a strong showing and playing better than hoped as they went up against teams from Timberlake, New Plymouth and Fruitland high schools.

The Dragons began their weekend of games going up against the 3A Timberlake Tigers.  Timberlake came out in the first inning to put up a quick run in the first inning.  Malad countered the run in the bottom of the third inning after Carter Carey was walked on base and courtesy runner, Ky Willie, made his way around the bases on errors from the pitcher.  Up to bat after Carey, Chase Briggs hit a grounder to shortstop who threw the ball to first base to get Briggs out, but allowing Willie to run across home plate for
the score.

Brady Showell scored again for the Dragons in the bottom of the fourth inning after hitting a single pop fly to centerfield.  Fourth in the batting order, Brycen Howe batted him in before he grounded out to the third baseman, giving Malad a 2-1 lead.

Timberlake put up two more runs in the sixth inning, giving them a single run lead that remained to the end of the game.  Howe pitched the first five innings of the game, allowing only one run off one hit as he struck out 11 and walked 3.  Ryan Hubbard came in to relief pitch, striking out 2 more hitters without allowing any hits
or walks.

The Dragons next took on New Plymouth Friday, taking the win as they outscored them 9-6.  Malad was hot from the plate in the third and fourth innings as they put up three and four runs respectively by Easton Green (courtesy runner for Timmy Jensen), Dawsyn Peterson, Cael Seamons, and Briggs.  Briggs led the team with 3 at bats, scoring 2 runs off of 1 hit and 1 walk.

Jensen led the Dragons from the pitching mound as he went up against 24 batters, striking out 6, walking 4, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits.  Kurt Ward came in to relief pitch in the
final inning.

 In their final game of the double header, Malad went up against the 3A Grizzlies from Fruitland High under the lights Friday night.  The defense dominated the low scoring game that didn’t see its first run on the board until the top of the fourth inning.  The Dragons were quick to snag three outs on their first go from the field as Josh Pickett caught a pop fly to center field, Hubbard forced out the runner at first base off of a pass from Briggs, with Holden Higley forcing the final out
at third.  

Unfortunately, it was just as difficult for the Dragons to make their way on base, only putting up one run in the sixth inning.  Green, first in the lineup for Malad, scored their single run of the game as Pickett hit a sacrifice fly to the right field to tie up the game.  In the ninth inning, Fruitland managed to take the lead and the game as they put up a final run.

Showell started from the mound for Malad, facing 23 batters, allowing only 1 run off of 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 and committing zero errors over 5+ innings.  Carter Blaisdell and Hubbard both came in to relief pitch, each adding 2 more strikes, walking 1 batter each, with Hubbard allowing 1 run.

Commenting on their big weekend of games, Head Coach Bo Clark shared, “They played better than we could have expected, especially our pitchers.  They all came out strong and looked great.  This early in the season, we really watch the pitch count and rotate through our pitchers to make sure we can play them each game if we need to.  But they all stepped up and threw very well.  We saw some things we can work on with our hitting, but that was as we expected with our first games of the season.  Overall we are pleased with what we saw on the field over
the weekend.”

The MHS baseball has a packed schedule this season, playing another game on their home field Monday, March 18 against the Teton Timberwolves.  Not having played them before, the Dragons weren’t entirely sure what to expect, but after seven innings they learned that they were the better team, despite Teton jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.  

It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Malad finally started scoring runs as Sawyer Poulson ran across home plate after Jensen hit a grounder past first base.  In the fifth inning, Peterson scored again, making his way around the bases on an error at shortstop off the ground ball hit by Briggs. Carey, five batters down the lineup, hit a fly ball to right field with the bases loaded to bat in Briggs and Showell to tie up the game 4-4.

Howe stepped up big from the pitching mound as the Timberwolves went to bat in the top of the 6th, catching a pop fly for the first out and striking out the second and third batters.  Stealing third base after coming in as courtesy runner for Howe, Green made quick work running bases for another Dragon score to take the lead as Briggs hit a single on a pop fly to second baseman.  As Pickett was behind the plate, Briggs stole second base, setting him up for the final score of the game as the line drive hit went to right field.  Holding Teton scoreless again in the top of the seventh inning, the game was called and the Dragons celebrated their first home win of the season, 6-4.

The team tallied 21 put out for the game, led by Carey with 7 followed by Hubbard with 6.  Showell, Peterson, and Jensen each added 2 assists from the field.  From the mound, Howe allowed 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 7, without walking any batters.

The Dragons will take on Snake River Wednesday, March 20 before they pause for spring break.  Coming back, they will play again April 2 at home as they host Marsh Valley.

2024 MHS School Sports Schedule
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