Kirtley’s shutout lifts Wood River 2-0
Wolverines stay alive in SCIC
By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
Senior righthander Aubrey Kirtley had one
of her best-ever pitching games just when the Wood River High School softball
team needed it Tuesday on the Hailey diamond.
Kirtley (11-4) threw the first
seven-inning shutout of her three-year varsity career as Wood River eliminated
Filer 2-0 in a loser-out game of the five-team Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference
Freezing Filer batters with calculated
patience before she delivered a pitch, Kirtley didn’t allow a runner to second
in the final four innings.
"It was a huge win for us," said Wood
River coach Chris Cey, whose squad finished the season unbeaten at home and
reached the 20-win mark again. "It extended our season and gave us a chance to
play for state."
Both Hailey runs were unearned, but
Kirtley was clearly the sharper pitcher in a dynamite duel with Filer
righthander Janae Hymas.
Kirtley (5 K, 0 BB) threw 87 pitches, 70
for strikes, and allowed only four hits. Hymas (6 K, 3 BB, 4 hits) was wilder,
throwing 113 pitches in six, 74 for strikes.
"This year, we’ve seen the best pitching
the district has ever had," said eighth-year coach Cey (130-84).
He said, "The kids just got together and
pulled together. We’ve been unbeaten at home because of awesome pitching and
catching and good fielders to back it up."
The #2-seeded Wolverines (20-6) stayed
alive to play the top-seeded Buhl Tribe (19-3) today, Wednesday at 4 p.m. in
Buhl. If necessary, a deciding game will be played right after.
Cey said, "As good as tonight was, we’ll
need it twice tomorrow."
The SCIC champion will automatically
advance to the State 3A tournament May 22 at Ward Park in Pocatello. The
runner-up goes to an inter-district play-in game Saturday, May 17 at 1 p.m. at
Mountain Home against a Third District squad.
Although Wood River relied on veterans
like Kirtley, catcher Joni Chatterton and shortstop Molly Meyers (celebrating
her 18th birthday) in Tuesday’s victory, the Wolverines banked their hopes on
youth as well.
Freshman Jamie Stone moved over from right
field to center field when junior Emily Smith was suspended from the team due to
a code of conduct violation. Junior Koree Hawkes went to right field. And making
her varsity debut at first base was freshman Lauren Parsons.
"A couple of freshmen came in and did an
outstanding job," said Cey. "It was Lauren’s first game ever. But the kids had
confidence in her."
Wood River struck first in the home third
when, with one out, leadoff hitter Ashley Washburn legged out an infield hit and
second baseman Kelly Haisley drew a walk. Chatterton belted a hard line drive
that glanced off the right fielder’s glove and scored Washburn for a 1-0 lead.
The Wolverines benefited from solid
fielding led by shortstop Meyers, who had four big assists.
They cut down a potential Filer run in the
second on a relay from Stone to Kirtley to Chatterton. Hawkes made two fine
running catches in right. Parsons made all the plays at first, at one point
taking a hard Hymas liner off her hand and tagging the bag for the out.
Wood River pushed across an insurance run
in the home sixth.
Hawkes led off with a line drive single.
Stone reached on an error, but Filer retired the next two Hailey batters. With
two outs, Washburn drew a walk on four pitches. The bases were loaded when
Haisley hit a grounder to short, but speedy Washburn beat the force-out throw to
second and Hawkes scored for a 2-0 game.
Hailey threatened throughout the 87-minute
game, leaving 10 runners on base—seven in scoring position.
Wood River finished the 2003 season with a
school-record unbeaten mark of 12-0 at South Valley Sports Complex—where
Wolverine teams have a 62-23 record over seven years.
WOLVERINE NOTES—Kirtley became Wood
River’s all-time pitching leader, with a 21-7 record from 2001-03. Debbie Rubel
was 20-10 from 1996-99. Amanda Engel was 14-8 and Stefani Miller 14-10. Junior
Chandin Persaud at 9-2 could climb in the ranks in the next year.
Wood River had a tough time against Filer
in the first four years of fast pitch, going 5-12 against the ‘Cats from
1996-99. However, the tables have turned. Wood River is now 15-4 against Filer
from 2000-03 and has won 13 straight games.
The Wolverines reached 20 wins for the
fourth time in school history. Last year’s team was 20-8 and Wood River ended up
20-7 in 1999. The 1997 squad was 21-9 and a school-record offensive average of