It was an up-and-down weekend for coach Lars Hovey's Wood River High School varsity baseball team at the Bucks Bag tournament staged at Storey Park in Meridian Thursday through Saturday.
Wood River captured 14-7 and 12-7 wins over Caldwell and Rigby, and the Wolverines nearly upset the eventual pod champion Meridian Friday afternoon. Meridian rallied from 6-1 and 8-4 deficits to win 10-9 en route to a 4-0 tournament record.
The pitching was decent and the hitting (42 hits in 4 games) was certainly good enough to win for Wood River. But the Hailey defense had some early-season leaks, committing 21 errors over three days of action.
Thursday, Wood River made six errors in a 10-3 loss to Idaho Falls that sent ace righty Steve Hansen (1-1) to his first loss. Leadoff hitter Brady Femling contributed a pair of singles, including a two-run hit, but the game was mainly a showcase for Idaho Falls hurler Nick Birch (8 K, 1 BB, 6 hits).
Friday's doubleheader started with the 15-hit, 14-7 runaway over Caldwell. Hansen drilled a two-run double in Wood River's seven-run bat-around third that built its lead to 8-5. Sophomore righty Kenny Cardona (2-0) picked up the mound win, limiting Caldwell to three hits with relief help from Ted Dankanyin.
Top Hailey hitters were Femling (3 hits, 3 runs), Tyson Reynoso (2 hits, 2 RBI), Derek Abbott (2 hits), Casey Hawkes (2 hits, 2 runs, double) and Jonathan Dittmer (3 hits, 2 runs).
After committing six errors in the win against Caldwell, Wood River found its six errors more damaging in the loss to Meridian. Reynoso (1-1) was the hard-luck loser, watching eight unearned runs cross the plate. Hailey scraped together 10 hits, but Meridian outscored them 6-1 in the final four frames.
You have to win the close games to do anything of substance during tournaments, and Meridian won three one-run games to prevail in the Storey Park pod. The host Warriors beat Caldwell 6-5, Kuna 8-7, Wood River 10-9 and Idaho Falls 10-3.
Against Meridian, leadoff hitter Morgan Uhrig (3 RBI) had two hits, Dankanyin went 3-for-4 while Ben Molyneux and Dittmer each added two hits.
Saturday in consolation play, Reynoso (5 RBI) ripped three of Wood River's 12 hits in the 12-7 win over Rigby.
The Wolverines scored in their first five trips including a five-run outburst in the third.
Jonathan Dittmer (double) rapped three hits including a clutch two-run single in the big inning. Abbott chipped in a pair of hits and scored twice. On the mound, junior Casey Hawkes (1-0) won his first varsity game with a timely complete-game effort for Hailey.
Senior catcher Billy Kramer was behind the dish for three of the four games and Derek Abbott caught the other contest for the Hailey squad.
Wood River (6-3) opens its Great Basin Conference West schedule after spring break with games at Burley Tuesday, April 5 and at Jerome Thursday, April 7. The Wolverines are scoring 8.2 runs per game clip, but are allowing 7.0 runs.