CALDWELL — In the opening game of the 4A State Baseball Tournament, the Kuna offense had trouble figuring out how to hit Bonneville pitcher Bruer Webster.
And once the Bees figured out how to hit Kuna pitcher Diego Hernandez, the Kavemen were never able to recover.
Bonneville broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday morning and Webster shut down Kuna’s offense allowing just three hits in a complete-game effort as Bonneville won 8-0.
The Bees advance to the today’s 4 p.m. 4A state semifinal against Lakeland at Vallivue High.
Webster retired the first eight Kuna batters he faced and finished the game with five strikeouts.
“As a pitcher, the first thing you want to do is locate and he located,” said Kuna coach Jesse Dodd. “The second thing would be movement and changing speeds. He had movement, changed speed and had enough velocity to keep you off balance. He did everything you could hope for from a pitcher, and he did it really well.”
The Bees’ No. 3 pitcher, according to Bonneville coach Ryan Alexander, had the outing of his season, never facing more than four batters in an inning and not allowing a Kuna runner to get to third base until a pair of errors in the seventh inning put runners at first and third with no outs.
But a double play, followed by a strikeout, helped preserve the shutout win for the senior.
“I just worked fast,” said Webster. “I knew I had a good defense behind me and made sure I pounded the zone.”
Hernandez matched Webster through the first three innings, allowing just a pair of second inning singles. But eventually the Bees (22-6) were able to get to the junior, who pitched five innings last week in the District III semifinal win against Nampa, then four innings in relief against Bishop Kelly in an eight-inning loss in the district championship.
“He threw a lot of pitches in his arm, and wasn’t quite recovered from that,” said Dodd. “He was a warrior and did everything we asked. The first three innings, I think he had adrenaline going, because it was so quick. Once the adrenaline wore off, his stuff just flattened out a little bit.”
After Caden Christensen led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a walk, Willie Nelson hit a ball over the wall in right field for a two-run home run. With runners at the corners, Alex Cortez added a two-run double to extend Bonneville’s lead to 4-0.
“Because of the unfamiliarity with the opponent today, we had to get through the first couple of innings, settle down,” said Alexander. “That allowed us to start hitting baseballs.”
With the lead, Webster was able to dial in after allowing a single to Grant Orme in the third inning and another single to Zac Rackham in the fourth. The Bonneville pitcher retired six of the next seven batters he faced, with a Logan Bundy walk representing Kuna’s only batter in the fifth or sixth innings.
“He’s thrown for us in the past, and he’s come in and kind of shut things down out of the bullpen,” Alexander said about Webster. “Kind of a change of pace a little bit. He threw the heck out of it today, good for him.”
Bonneville extended its lead with four more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Tavyn Lords had an RBI single to get things started, Christiensen drove in a run on a fielders choice and Jordan Perez scored Lords on a sacrifice fly. Christensen scored Bonneville’s final run on a wild pitch.
Kuna (16-9) goes to the consolation bracket, where it will face Minico at 10 a.m. today.
“They are not going to be a group of kids that are going to go into a hole,” Dodd said about changing focus on what trophy they’re going after. “They were laughing and smiling right after the game. We’ve preached all year that the outcome is not the important thing. One of our sayings is ‘forget the outcome.’ We go out, we do our best and if they’re better, we tip our cap. That team today was better than us. So we’re going to go out tomorrow and do the same thing. If they’re better than us again, we’ll go home. If we’re better then them, and we play our game, then we’ll keep playing.”
BISHOP KELLY 15, BURLEY 6: The Knights moved into the 4A state semifinals, scoring 11 runs in the fourth and fifth innings to secure the win at Vallivue.
The Knights will face Idaho Falls, a 2-1 winner over Twin Falls, at 7 tonight.
Ike George led Bishop Kelly, going 3 for 4 with two RBI. Nick Anewalt went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and Tyler Garrehy added two RBI.