SANDPOINT, Idaho — When the Moscow Blue Devils fell behind by three runs out of the gate, coach Stan Mattoon looked at his players’ faces to gauge their reaction.
“My kids never wavered, never blinked,” he said.
The Devils, who had a two-for-one shot at the district Class A Legion baseball title, won on their first try Sunday, rallying to take a 15-4 mercy-rule victory in five innings over the Lewis-Clark Cubs.
That punched the Devils’ tickets to the Idaho Class A state tournament, which will open July 30 in Burley, Idaho.
The Cubs, whose season is finished, went 3-2 at Districts while Moscow went 3-0 at the double elimination tournament.
Hayden Thompson pitched the entirety of the contest for the Devils (30-9), scattering four hits.
“He had wonderful command of his fastball and changeup and he mixed them up really well,” Mattoon said. “And the balls that were hit, our defense did a really good job (of corralling). We were pretty solid in the infield.”
Marcus Delusa, Barrett Abendroth and Kyle Lynas had three RBI apiece. Delusa went 3-for-3 at the plate and got the scoring started for the Devils in the third.
Following a double steal by Lynas and Ryan Delusa, Marcus Delusa brought them both home with one of his two doubles. After that, Chad Redinger and Abendroth notched run-scoring hits in the next two at-bats to push their team’s lead to 8-3, and Billy Adams later singled to score Abendroth. All those runs came with two outs.
“(Marcus) Delusa ... was very instrumental in getting us going,” Mattoon said. “On one of his hits, he realized the cutoff was not lined up correctly, and he basically turned a single into a double, did a head-first dive. And as soon as that happened, I could feel we were in a good place.
“So I want to give credit to Marcus for lighting our fire offensively. He just had a very, very good tournament. A very good tourament.”
Adams went 3-for-4 while Ryan Delusa, Lynas and Redinger all went 2-for-3 on Sunday.
“It’s been fun to see the smiles on their faces as they realize that, ‘Hey, we have a pretty good team here,’” Mattoon said. “But this is just the first step. They’re not done.
“They want to go to State and they want to represent their district and their town. They feel like they’ve still got some baseball to play and they’re excited, so it’s hard not to be excited for them.”
Lewis-Clark Cubs 300 01— 4 7 2
Moscow Blue Devils 315 6x—15 17 0
Chance, Kachmitter (4) and Edmisson. Hayden Thompson and CJ Anderson.
Cubs hits — Edmisson, Taylor, Kaschmitter, Chance, Larsen 3.
Blue Devils hits — Chad Redinger 2 (2-2B), Barrett Abendroth 2, Hayden Thompson, Billy Adams 3, Kyle Lynas 2 (2B), CJ Anderson, Ryan Delusa 2, Peyton Waters, Marcus Delusa (2-2B).
Titans 5, Blues 4
SPOKANE — The Asotin County Blues lost in the third-fourth-place game at a district tournament, but made things interesting with a three-run rally in the final frame to pull within a run of University of Spokane.
Damon Peace pitched the entire game for the Blues, scattering 10 hits and giving up four earned runs. He fanned four and walked three.
Danner Maves led the Blues with two RBI while Justin Spencer added another.
The Blues had already qualified to compete in the Washington Class AA state tournament, set to begin Saturday in Yakima.
Asotin County 000 010 3—4 11 2
University Titans 201 101 x—5 10 3
Damon Peace and Connor Hayes. Trenton Hiatt, Mason Muchlinski (7) and Tanner Madison.
Asotin County Blues hits — Kian Ankerson 2, Colby Bolen, Damon Peace, Justin Spencer 3, Danner Maves 3, Andrew Reeder (3B).
University Titans hits — Brodie Garrett 2, Mason Muchlinski 2, Triston Madison (2B), Tanner Madison (2B), Cannon Marhsall, Kyle Douglas, Dakota Predmore, Hunter Ebel (2B).