Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Patterson’s gem gives Wolverines an extra game

WRHS ousts Burley 5-2 in tourney


By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer

Pat Patterson threw a terrific 5-2 victory Saturday at Burley to keep Wood River alive in the Great Basin West tournament. Courtesy photos by Val Seamons

Senior Pat Patterson pitched his best game of the 2008 season at the best time Saturday in Burley, saving his Wood River Wolverines from elimination in the Great Basin Conference West prep baseball tourney.

Patterson threw a tidy eight-hit complete game and benefited from some terrific defense as #4-seeded Wood River eliminated #2-seeded Burley 5-2, at Burley. It snapped a string of eight straight Wood River league losses over two seasons.

Coach Matt Nelson said, "Pat was on fire, really intense and focused. We needed him to bear down and he did. And our defense did a great job—no errors. We hit our cutoff men and really played solid."

Patterson (9 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP) had been beaten by a 12-hit Burley hitting attack 7-5 in the first meeting of the two teams April 2 on the Burley field. The 2-3-4 batters that day were particularly effective, going 6-for-10. This time, however, Patterson came up with some crucial strikeouts in the meat of the Bobcat batting order.

Nelson said after Saturday's 5-2 Wolverine win, "A lot of Pat's strikeouts came with the 2-3-4 hitters. In the seventh, with a runner on and one out, he struck out their #2 and #3 hitters, (Tyler) Owens and (Marcus) Hoskins, to end the game."

The pitching duel between Patterson and Burley's Steve Beck was scoreless until the visitor fourth, when Wood River jumped ahead 1-0 on a two-out single by Greg Wakefield, a single by catcher Sean Bunce and RBI double by Keven Abbott.

Wood River made it 2-0 in the fifth on a Michale Brunker triple and Patterson sacrifice fly. Wakefield's opposite field triple, licking the right field line, and another RBI hit by Abbott (2 hits, 2 RBI) made it 3-0 in the sixth.

Patterson hit a rough patch in the home sixth, giving up three straight Burley hits and yielding two runs, but Wood River still led 3-2.

In the seventh, Wood River manufactured two insurance runs ignited by a Brunker leadoff walk and a Trent Seamons single. The Bobcats (4 errors) were sloppy in the field and the Wolverines led 5-2.

That's the way it stayed, thanks to Patterson and good defense.

Nelson said, "Sean Bunce had a really good game behind the plate. He made two great plays early in the game—catching a pop fly falling backwards, with runners at second and third, and also getting a runner on a rundown. We had an inning-ending double play, too."

Others with two hits apiece in Hailey's 10-hit attack were Brunker (2 runs), Seamons, Bunce and Wakefield (2 BB).

Snapping a nine-game losing streak at the perfect time, Wood River (7-18, 4-14 road) advanced to play #3-seeded Jerome (14-11) in Tuesday's loser-out game at Jerome. The Tigers swept Wood River 9-2 at Jerome, and 7-5 this spring.

Nelson said he planned to send Patterson to the hill once again Tuesday in Jerome. "Pat is in a zone. We'll take it one game at a time," Nelson said.

Tuesday's Jerome-Wood River loser goes home, awaiting the American Legion summer season of games. The winner of Jerome-Wood River goes back to work getting ready for a state play-in game Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. in Pocatello.

Last year's State 4A runner-up Minico (23-2) defeated Jerome 7-5 Saturday in Rupert to complete an undefeated 8-0 slate in Great Basin Conference West games and earn an automatic berth in the State 4A baseball tournament May 15-17 at Rodeo Park, Nampa.

It was Minico's fourth consecutive Great Basin West title since the Spartans dropped down from 5A to 4A starting in 2005. The last three came over Jerome, and also Wood River back in 2005. Meanwhile, Minico clouted three home runs and run-ruled Wood River 13-3 Thursday at Rupert in the opening game of the tourney.

Minico, winner of two of the past three regional Great Basin Conference titles, clashes with the Pocatello Indians Thursday, May 8, in Pocatello, for state seeding purposes. And it should be a close game judging by the previous Minico-Pocatello meetings this spring.

Spartan pitchers R.J. Salvi, Cody Winmill and Dane Broadhead allowed only three hits over two games as Minico swept Pocatello 1-0 in Rupert and 5-2 in Pocatello.




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