Wood River holds
off Kimberly 3-2 for district title
13-0 home baseball campaign, head to state
Express Staff Writer
pretty, but it was pretty effective for the Wood River High School
baseball team in Tuesday’s Fourth District 3A championship game at
Founders Field in Hailey.
pushing three runs across the plate in the first inning, top-seeded Wood
River (22-5 overall) hung on to beat upset-minded Kimberly 3-2 and win the
Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference tournament flag for the third time in
did Wood River earn a berth in the State 3A tournament over Memorial Day
weekend, the Wolverines completed an unprecedented 13-0 home campaign at
Founders Field and ended the season unbeaten in SCIC play at 9-0.
Ryne Reynoso came on in relief of starter Matt Beck in the sixth inning
and doused a potential big Kimberly rally—stranding the tying run at
third base with two strikeouts. Reynoso whiffed four of the six batters he
faced for his first save.
It was Wood
River’s 18th win in 19 games, but it was also the lowest run total for
the Wolverines (8.7 runs per game on offense, 4.6 defense) since their
trip to San Diego March 25-27.
"We came into the game hitting .468 in the tournament and we planned
on pounding the ball against Kimberly," said Wolverine coach Lars
Hovey. "It didn’t work out that way."
Kimberly runs were unearned as two Wood River errors opened the door for
the #4-seeded Bulldogs (7-17-2). The Wolverines had beaten Kimberly four
times by a combined 45-7 score this season, but Kimberly came to Hailey
with a head of steam after upsetting #2-seeded Buhl 9-8 Monday.
Wood River’s defense made 10 errors in their three SCIC tournament
victories, they won all three games.
acknowledging that Tuesday’s win over Kimberly wasn’t Wood River’s
best game, said, "Three or four games this year we haven’t played
that well, but we’ve won them anyway—and a couple of those were big
games. We’ve been able to find a way to win."
have to catch the ball and run the bases better at state. A couple of
Wolverine base running mistakes took the home team out of potential big
innings Tuesday afternoon on a sun-baked day before 180 fans.
first inning, Kimberly threatened with a pair of leadoff singles, but
starting pitcher Beck (10-1 on the season) dove to catch a popped-up
sacrifice bunt attempt, and second baseman Matt Conover made a fine diving
catch on a grounder up the middle for the third out.
first-pitch single set the tone off Kimberly’s #3 pitcher, Dustin
Lammers. Third baseman Paul Tinker walked with one out and first baseman
Jeff Bolton ripped an RBI single. Left fielder Nic Nottingham drilled a
two-run triple for a 3-0 lead, but Nottingham was thrown out at home on a
bouncing ball to short and Wood River’s rally stalled.
team never scored again—the Wolverines leaving runners in scoring
position in the third, fourth and fifth frames including a bases loaded
situation in the fifth.
cruising along on all cylinders, building his bid for a shutout through
five innings. Then, lightning struck in the visitor sixth.
made another fine diving stop on a tough grounder, but his throw to first
went for an error. The next batter, Bulldog clean-up hitter Matt Bulcher,
drove a long fly to left. Nottingham got turned around on the ball and it
glanced off his glove for another Hailey error. John Mason ripped an RBI
single up the middle cutting Wood River’s lead to 3-1.
all for Beck, who went to the showers with two runners on base and no
outs. Beck finished with a six-hitter, allowing no earned runs and
throwing 75 pitches.
preparing for an emergency, had started warming up Reynoso in the fourth.
He summoned Reynoso, who enticed the first out on a grounder to Tinker at
third. A passed ball scored Kimberly’s second run, but Reynoso whiffed
the final two Bulldogs to keep the score 3-2.
went 1-2-3 in the seventh as the Wolverines—although out-hit 6-5—captured
their fourth straight win.
Hovey said, "We’ll take tomorrow off, and maybe Saturday, and let
them regroup and prepare themselves to take the final step."
making its fourth consecutive state tournament appearance, begins its 2002
quest Thursday, May 23 at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario,
Wolverines will meet the Fifth District runner-up (southeastern Idaho) May
23 at 4 p.m. The eight-team State 3A tournament continues Friday and
Saturday, May 24-25.
tied the school’s single-season record for wins with 22 Tuesday, so they’ll
need one win at state to break it.
Hovey has questions about the depth of the Wood River pitching staff,
behind Beck and Reynoso (7-1). Drew Detwiler, Jeff Hunter and Jeff Bolton
are all possibilities as Wood River envisions a best-case scenario of
playing three games in three days at the state tournament.
SCIC runner-up Kimberly has to win a playoff game Saturday, May 18 to earn
a berth in the state meet.