Great Basin Conference tournaments have started for Wood River High School teams on the ball diamond. Baseball began Thursday with 4A softball opening up Saturday.
Coach Matt Nelson's #4-seeded Wood River (6-17, 0-6 league) baseball squad had a tough assignment against the top-seeded defending Great Basin West champion Minico Spartans (21-2, 6-0 league) Thursday afternoon at Rupert.
Wood River, 9-0 and 5-2 losers to Minico, was hoping that last year's State 4A runner-up Minico was a little worn out after going to 10 innings in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to 5A Twin Falls (20-4), at Twin Falls. The loss in the meaningless non-conference battle snapped Minico's 21-game win streak.
Thursday's other first-round Great Basin West game matched last year's state qualifier Jerome (13-9, 3-3) and Burley (8-12, 3-3). The winners of Minico-Wood River and Jerome-Burley will play Saturday, May 3, at 11 a.m. at the highest seed, and the losers will clash at the same time.
Minico (25-8) defeated Jerome 3-2 in eight innings to win last year's conference title.
The losers of Saturday's games match up Tuesday, May 6, for the right to stay alive in the State 4A tournament race. The undefeated team after Saturday's GBW action earns an automatic berth in the State 4A baseball tournament May 15-17 at Rodeo Park, Nampa.
Meanwhile, coach Dale Martin's Wood River softball team will head to Jerome Saturday, May 3, to open this year's Great Basin Conference West meet.
Jerome (10-12, 4-2 league) earned the host designation for the four-team double elimination tournament by beating Minico (8-15, 4-2) by a 2-1 score Tuesday, at Jerome, and thus sweeping the season series.
Minico settled for the second seed and will face #3-seeded Wood River Saturday at 11 a.m. at Jerome. The Wolverines (10-11, 2-3 league) wrapped up their regular season Thursday with a game at defending league champ Burley (5-11, 1-4 league).
The winners of Saturday's Jerome-Burley and Minico-Wood River games will play each other at 1 p.m. Saturday at Jerome, while the losers will try to stay alive at the same time. The loser-out game Monday, May 5, begins at 1 p.m. with the championship at 3 p.m. and the if-necessary game at 5 p.m.
Regional playoffs for the surviving teams in baseball and softball are Thursday, May 8 with state play-in games set for Saturday, May 10.
Burley won last year's Great Basin West softball meet with a 3-0 record including a 14-3 run-rule victory over Jerome in the championship game. Third-seeded Wood River suffered a couple of tough-luck losses last May, to Burley 2-0 and #2 Jerome 7-6 in eight innings.
Pocatello was last year's Great Basin softball champion 2-0 over Burley, while Jerome defeated both Century of Pocatello and Hillcrest of Idaho Falls to advance through the back door. Both Burley (14-13) and Jerome (16-16) won a single game at last year's State 4A tournament in Coeur d'Alene.
This year's State 4A softball tournament is scheduled for Twin Falls May 15-17.