STATE BASEBALL: Viks battle back for consolation title
CALDWELL — By the third day of the state tournament, it comes down to grit and heart.
And in the last two weeks, nobody played with more grit and heart than the Coeur d’Alene Vikings did.
Coeur d’Alene, seeded third in its regional tournament, bounced back from an opening round setback to beat the Idaho Falls Tigers 5-4 in the state 5A consolation championship game on Saturday at Wolfe Field.
“We grew a tremendous amount and peaked at the right time this year,” said second-year Coeur d’Alene coach Erik Karns, who led the Vikings to state for the first time since 2017. “Our pitching staff carried us throughout the season. Defensively, we got a lot better throughout the season, and the boys just had a tremendous tournament. They had a ton of fun together and outside of one inning, we showed up to play.”
Senior Trent Elstad — who has signed to play football at Carroll College — had a two-run single to give Coeur d’Alene the lead for good at 5-3 in the fifth inning.
“Trent, it was the final baseball game of his life,” Karns said. “He stepped up in a big spot and gave us a lead. I couldn’t be happier for that kid and these boys. They gutted it out and played their best baseball at the right time.”
Ryan Schneider struck out five in 2 ⅔ innings for Coeur d’Alene, which finishes 16-8. Jayden Rowley and Bryce Stockton combined to pitch the final four innings for the Vikings.
“Ryan pitched a great game,” Karns said. “Jayden got called for a couple of balks, but never lost his composure and Bryce just did a good job of competing. I couldn’t be more proud of them and how they finished this season.”
Jaxon Sorenson, a Gonzaga commit went 0 for 3 for Idaho Falls, which finished 24-6.
Idaho Falls 000 301 0 — 4 6 1
Coeur d’Alene 201 020 x — 5 4 1
Zach Lee, Jaxon Sorenson (5) and Jaxon Cherry; Ryan Schneider, Liam Paddack (3), Jayden Rowley (4), Bryce Stockton (6) and Wade Mallory. W — Rowley. L — Lee. S — Stockton.
HITS: IF — Rose 2, Bridges, Seeley, Anderson, Lee. Cd’A — An. Karns 2, Elstad 2. 2B — Rose.