Invigorated by the addition of a new leadoff hitter and a new pitching coach, the Wood River High School softball team put it all together with a 15-0 Great Basin Conference West home win over the Minico Spartans Tuesday in Hailey.
Leading the Wolverines, who added a 5-3 home triumph over Glenns Ferry Wednesday, was senior catcher Jamie Stone (9-for-11 with 4 homers in the last three Wood River games). Stone was simply on fire.
Coach Dale Martin said, "Jamie has put the team on her back and won't let them lose."
But it's been a team effort.
Tuesday, freshman righty pitcher Samantha Engel threw a 66-pitch, one-hitter in the league game shortened to four innings by the run rule. She struck out 10 of the 14 batters she faced enabling Wood River to sweep the season series with Minico (1-8, 0-3).
Wood River's new leadoff hitter is Camas County junior Vennesa Valentine, the California-bred sparkplug who ripped two hits and scored three runs in setting the table for Hailey's 12-hit attack against Minico at South Valley Sports Complex in Hailey.
"Vennesa has made a huge difference," said Martin, pointing to the fact Wood River scored 13 and 15 runs in the first two games she played since the Idaho High School Activities Association approved a cooperative agreement between the Fairfield and Hailey high schools.
The enthusiastic pitching coach is Courtney Dale, a former UCLA pitcher who played professional softball in Japan before moving recently to the Wood River Valley.
Dale sat behind home plate and charted the pitching of Engel. She liked what she saw.
Engel (5-4) worked the corners, changed speeds and rarely got behind Minico batters. She whiffed eight of the final nine batters after allowing a Vanessa Ramirez leadoff double in the second.
Meanwhile, catcher Jamie Stone (3 hits, 3 runs, 5 RBI), the team's only senior, cracked a 230-foot over-the-fence three-run homer in the first inning and added two more RBI in the game-ending fourth inning rally. Her RBI double in the fourth was nearly a grand slam. It bounced off the fence.
Besides Valentine (2 hits, 3 runs, 1 RBI), other Wood River hitting contributors were Dani Stone (2 hits, 3 runs), Hannah Gove (2 hits, 2 RBI), K.D. Pruett (2 RBI) and Angela Coleman, who reached base four times. Minico pitchers issued eight walks and hit two batters.
Wednesday, Engel (10K, 1 BB, 4 hits) out-dueled Glenns Ferry pitcher Rachel Anchustegui in a 3-3 battle that wasn't settled until Jamie Stone cracked the game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the sixth. Stone had both Wood River hits in the 5-3 non-conference home victory.
Anchustegui whiffed eight Wolverines but walked six.
Having matched their season-best winning streak at three games, the Wolverines (6-6, 2-2 league) host Filer today, Friday, April 21.