It was a big thrill for the Wood River Babe Ruth 13-year-old baseball team to compete in the eight-team State Babe Ruth 13 tournament at Meridian July 18-19. Umpires judged the Wood River parents as the best.
Wood River had good opportunities to win its first two games and played tight, tough ball against the state's best. But the underdog Hailey boys lost 11-5 to Lewiston, 7-6 to East Boise and 10-0 to Idaho Falls.
One special moment came in the Tuesday evening opening ceremony at Fuller Park. Teams from Moscow, Lewiston, East Boise, Nampa, Meridian, Idaho Falls and Hailey lined up along the baselines. Each coach and player was introduced.
Wood River spotted Lewiston a 4-0 lead then battled back into a 4-3 game. Colton Jones (3-for-4, double) led the Hailey hitting, Zack Israel drove home two runs and Davis Hague (double) made a strong contribution at catcher. Pitcher Collin Dean pitched a valiant six-and-a-third innings.
Against East Boise, Wood River led the whole game but fell 7-6 in the final frame. Mason Kluge threw a successful six-and-a-third innings and catcher Nate Farrow was a wall behind home plate. Taz Lyons tried very hard in relief.
Wood River hitting stars included Kluge (3 hits), Farrow (2 hits, 2 runs), Alex Padilla (2 hits, 2 runs) and Zack Israel (2 hits). Jones (1 run), Kevin Jensen and Andrew Orr each contributed a hit, and Jake Freeman scored a run. Playing well on defense were John Siegel at third and Jensen at second.
Head coach Ted Israel's assistant coaches were Layne Jensen, Tracey Farrow and Jim Siegel. The team's injured player was Alex Thomas.
The team thanked the Wood River Baseball Association for its support going to state.
Wood River, having won just one of 14 games during the regular season, was the Cinderella story of the Babe Ruth League 13-year-old district tournament July 14 at Rexburg.
Hailey peaked at just the right time and captured two close loser-out victories, 8-7 over the Twin Falls Americans and 20-16 over their Northside rivals from Jerome. Wood River placed third at district and earned the city's first State Babe Ruth 13-year-old berth.