Historic Reds Season Ends
Perhaps The Best Reds Team Ever Ends Season With Regionals Elimination
By J. Levi Burnfin, Courier Sports
Published: Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
On the heels of a startlingly good run through the state playoffs, the Reds concluded their season after a pair of losses to the Boise Avalanche in the Northwest A Regional Tournament in Burley, Idaho, on Aug. 10-13.
The Reds lost to the Avalanche in the first game of the tournament by the score of 9-6. Walt Dalbey, the usual staff ace, was not quite himself as he allowed five runs in six innings and was not able to pitch the complete for one of the handful of times this season.
Andy Gardner came in relief in the seventh inning but the Reds were already behind 5-0. Gardner allowed four more in his three innings of work and, while the Reds were able to scratch across six runs in the final two innings, it was not enough.
The Reds were relegated to the loser’s bracket. But they bounced back with a 5-2 win over Medford, Ore., on the back of Johnathan Koessl's complete-game win.
Koessl only struck out two but didn't walk a single batter and picked off two runners. The Reds scored first when Tom Leland hit a two-run shot after Grant Legare walked. The Reds added one in the seventh on a two-out double by Gardner.
After the Oregon team pulled back to within a run, the Reds added two in the ninth off another Gardner double for the final 5-2 score.
Legare added his own complete-game win over Utah in the third game by the score of 7-5. Andy Gardner again provided the big hit with a two-run home run in the fifth. Leland added a two-run triple and Dalbey had a two-run single.
Legare struck out six and only walked two.
But the win was the last the Reds would see as they faced and lost to the Boise Avalanche again in the fourth game.
Robbie Henville started the game but only threw five pitches before being removed for Keil Krumwiede. Krumwiede was relieved by Gardner in the third but the damage was done as Boise jumped out to the early lead by scoring seven runs in the first three innings.
Dalbey came on to pitch the final five innings and only allowed one run but it wasn't enough to get the Reds back into the game. They were only able to muster one big inning – a three-run outburst in the third off a two-run double by Jes Hanks.
They scored a run in each of the eight and ninth innings but it was too little, too late as they fell 8-5. Henville was given the loss.
It was a tough loss for a team that had struggled with but overcame a lack of pitching depth despite losing one of their more experience pitchers – Leland – to a shoulder injury just prior to the state tournament.
But the loss and subsequent elimination does not, in any way, distort the accomplishments of the Reds this season.
The Reds advanced past the state tournament for the first time in team history and accumulated the most wins in a single season – 41– for as long as The Courier has recorded.
They end the season with a 41-22-1 record, a second-place finish at districts, a second at state and top four at regionals.
Walt Dalbey ends the season with a sterling 13-4 record. Gardner finishes at 4-4, Koessl at 3-2, Legare at 8-2 and Henville at 6-4.
The Reds finished second overall in the Eastern conference with a 15-2 record behind only Laurel, the team the Reds beat in the state tournament to guarantee a spot at regionals.
This was the first year under Head Coach Jack Sprague, who took over the team after years of coaching in Wolf Point.
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