Sometimes a one-win, one-loss split in an American Legion baseball doubleheader can feel pretty good, especially when your team does it on the road or accomplishes the split against a good team or good pitcher.
But there are occasions when a doubleheader split can leave your team feeling empty—and the Wood River American Legion baseball team certainly had that hollow feeling Tuesday at Founders Field in Hailey.
Wood River (3-3) settled for the twinbill split, winning 11-1 in the opener and losing 12-10 against a very young and pitching-weary Burley squad (1-7) that was playing its sixth ball game in just four days.
Burley, wearing its rally caps and seeking its first win of the summer, scored four runs without benefit of a hit in the seventh inning to beat a stunned Wood River squad that tallied six errors, 2 in the final inning, in the nightcap.
It was a tough lesson for Wood River, particularly how it happened.
After winning the first run-rule game in six innings, Wood River had its first doubleheader sweep of the young 2007 season within sight when coach Matt Nelson's Hailey boys erased an early 8-0 deficit and surged ahead of Burley 10-8 with three outs to go in the nightcap of the Area C "A" clash.
Things started unraveling for Hailey reliever Danny Kramer, who pitched solid relief in the opener. Two walks, a hit batsman and an infield error made it 10-10. A passed ball moved Burley ahead 11-10 and yet another infield error made it 12-10 before fireman Kenny Cardona finally retired Burley.
Burley reliever Steve Beck set Wood River down 1-2-3 in the home seventh to complete the turnaround.
Fielding plays made the difference in the nightcap. Burley made them and Wood River didn't in a game featuring 22 runs and 19 hits.
The biggest defensive play was a long running catch by Bobcat center fielder Garret Lyons on a deep two-out drive by Tyler Israel in the home fifth. Nelson's surging team had just taken a 9-8 lead on a two-run double by Pat Patterson (3 runs) and RBI single by Michale Brunker and was threatening to build a cushion.
The highlight for Wood River (9 hits) in the nightcap was a six-run fourth that erased an 8-1 deficit. Trent Seamons opened with a single, Greg Wakefield tripled, catcher Robin Morgus (2 hits, 2 runs) ripped an RBI double, and Brunker and Israel delivered two more runs for starter Patterson (5 innings, 8 runs).
Wood River continued its pattern of winning the first game and dropping the second with its 11-1 triumph in the opener. Leading the way was the pitching of Seamons and Kramer, and an 11-hit attack sparked by Drew Anderson (8-for-16, .500, scored in each of the first 5 games).
Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the fifth, starter Seamons got into trouble and filled the bases with no outs. Nelson summoned Kramer in relief, and the right-hander did a whale of a job the rest of the way—getting six outs on just 16 pitches for a huge save.
Wood River's batters, knowing they had just dodged a bullet thanks to Kramer's clutch pitching, came out in the home fifth and batted around for seven runs and a 9-1 lead. Later, coach Nelson said his team would have to start faster in its games, but he certainly welcomed the scoring.
Israel (2 hits) led off with a double and Kramer fouled off three pitches before walking on a 3-2 count. With the runners going on a straight steal, Sean Bunce pounded a slow grounder to short and hustled it out. The high throw to first by the Burley shortstop enabled Israel to score, then Seamons (2 hits) made it 5-1 with a two-run Texas leaguer to right field.
Patterson's two-out, two-run single boosted the lead to 7-1, then Drew Anderson sent Burley starter Kace Redder to the showers with a long two-bounce RBI triple to the left center field fence. In the sixth, run-scoring singles by Bunce (3 hits, 2 runs) and Bryan Bray ended the game early on the 10-run rule.
Wood River has now split all three of its doubleheaders and doesn't play again until June 21. Last year the Legion went 11-24. Of its 17 doubleheaders, Wood River won two, split seven and lost eight.
The team is still playing without Erik Jacobson (shoulder) but Brunker (ankle) returned for the first time in Tuesday's Founders Field nightcap.