Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Glovin' every minute of it

Wood River ballplayers happy to be back in the win column

Maybe all it took was a little warm weather to heat up the Wolverines' bats and loosen their arms.

The Wood River baseball team (6-10 overall) snapped a five-game losing streak taking two from Preston Saturday at Founder's Field in Hailey, getting stellar pitching performances from Michale Brunker and Sean Bunce. Coincidentally, the Wolverines won both games by a score of 8-4.

"They were good wins," coach Matt Nelson said. "Two things took place: we came together as a team and we did all the little things right that it takes to win games."

And the big things too.

Senior Michale Brunker got the ball for game one after some selling Nelson on the idea for the last couple of weeks.

"He's just been a fly in my ear," Nelson said.

Brunker threw 85 pitches—55 for strikes—allowed no base on balls, struck out seven and scattered six hits in five-and-a-third innings.

"He had a sick little knuckleball going," Nelson said.

Showing patience at the plate, the Wolverines scored all eight of their runs on two-out rallies in the opening contest. Brian Bray and Travis Job tagged RBI singles to put the Wolverines up 2-0 in the first frame. The home players tapped home plate three times in the second inning and twice in the third. Keven Abbott's single scored Tyler Peters (HBP). Greg Wakefield walked and Bray belted a double to score Abbott and Wakefield.

Head's up base running in the third led to runs by Zac Sjoberg and Peters. Wakefield socked a solo homerun in the sixth. Bray (2K) finished up the game on the mound, retiring five batters in the sixth and seventh.

Nelson said he was very pleased with the way his 6-7-8-9 hitters performed in the nightcap. Sjoberg (3-for-4), Friesen (1-for-2, 2 BB), Peters (3-for-3, BB, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored) and Bunce (1-for-1, 2 BB, 1 RBI) combined for an .800 batting average, tagging eight of the team's 13 total hits.

"We knew once they got on base, they would be great," Nelson said. "Peters also had two nice outs in the field, catching two guys stealing. Bunce was all over the bases."

And the opposing batters, too. Bunce tossed an economical 83 pitches through 7 and 1/3 innings. Wakefield nabbed the final two outs. Brunker chipped in with a 2 RBI double and Abbott a RBI single in the fifth.

The wins were a nice turnabout after losing twice to league-rival Jerome last week. The Tigers slipped by the Wolverines 4-3 in Hailey on Wednesday and 10-5 at home Thursday.

Now 0-4 in league (4-3 at home), the Wolverines faced Burley Tuesday and will meet the Bobcats again on Thursday before participating in the Preston Invitational this weekend.

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