Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Legion pulls one out, 11-10 over Rockies

Season opener for 15-18 year olds

There's nothing like winning a baseball game in your final at-bat, which is what the Wood River American Legion baseball team did Saturday evening at Founders Field.

Wood River catcher Billy Kramer drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning as the home team scored the final five runs of the long two-hour and 45-minute game and beat the Idaho Falls Rockies 11-10 on the Hailey diamond.

Coach Matt Nelson's Legion squad (2-6) earned a split of the Area C "A" doubleheader, having dropped the first game to the Rockies 7-5.

"You can see them starting to learn more and more about the game," said Nelson about his team of 16-19 year olds. "They learn fast."

He's the oldest player on the squad, but Idaho State University's Kramer wasn't the only Hailey hero. One of the youngest players, incoming sophomore Bryan Bray, came up huge at bat and on the mound.

Bray delivered a three-run double giving Wood River a brief 6-3 lead in the third inning. When the Rockies stormed back to score seven runs—six unearned—in the fourth, coach Nelson summoned righthander Bray in relief of starter Kenny Cardona.

All Bray did was throw strikes and scatter seven hits over three-and-two-thirds innings. Winning his first game, he didn't allow an earned run and stranded five Rockies in scoring position with clutch pitching.

Solid defense backed up Bray's pitching. Outfielders Cardona and Pat Patterson gloved a pair of hard line drives. Shortstop Tyler Israel made a couple of solid plays.

And, in the sixth inning of a 10-10 tie, Wood River cut down a Rockies runner trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple with a relay from center fielder Trent Seamons to second baseman Drew Anderson over to third baseman Danny Kramer.

Wood River out-hit Idaho Falls 14-9 but the lengthy game also had 22 free passes—10 walks issued by Hailey pitchers. No wonder the winning run came home on a walk.

Patterson opened the home seventh with a bloop single to right. Leadoff batter Anderson (3 hits, 2 runs) walked on five pitches and infielder Michale Brunker (2 hits, 2 RBI) dropped a perfect drag bunt toward third that loaded the sacks.

With no outs, Danny Kramer scorched a line drive that was snagged by the drawn-in Rockies shortstop for the first out—and Patterson just got back to third to avoid being doubled up. It was a good thing. He walked home with the winner on Billy Kramer's free pass.

Other hitting contributors were Danny Kramer (2 hits), Billy Kramer (3 RBI), Cardona (3 hits, 2 runs), Seamons (2-run double) and Israel (bases-loaded walk). Pinch runner Chris Coupe scored a pair of runs.

In Saturday's first game the Rockies handed Wood River ace Pat Patterson (0-3) another tough loss. Hitting contributors included Anderson (2 hits, triple), Billy Kramer (2 hits, double) and Cardona (2 runs).

Friday, Wood River divided a rainy home twinbill with the Idaho Falls Rangers. The Rangers capitalized on nine Hailey errors to take the opener 7-4, then Wood River earned the split and its first win of the season 10-8 with five innings of tough relief pitching by Seamons (1-0).

In the 10-8 nightcap victory, Wood River jumped ahead with a six-run first on four walks and an RBI double by Coupe. The home team added the two deciding runs in the sixth inning on three free passes and a two-run double by Bray.

Patterson had two hits (triple) and Brunker added a pair of safeties in Friday's opening-game loss.

Monday, Wood River dropped a 21-0 and 9-6 Area C "A" doubleheader at Buhl. Nelson's squad travels to Snake River Thursday, June 15 and goes to Jerome Monday.

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