Wood River High School's baseball team will wrap up its 2009 regular-season slate today, Friday and Saturday, April 25 during the sixth annual Tony Hansen tournament in Preston.
Coach Matt Nelson's Wolverines are grouped with three other teams—Highland of Pocatello, Jerome and American Falls—in Pool A of the eight-team tournament. In Pool B are Bear Lake, Preston, Rigby and Sugar-Salem.
Wood River opens against American Falls today, Friday, at 3 p.m. and completes its doubleheader against league rival Jerome at 5:30 p.m. Saturday's Wolverine game against Highland starts at 12:45 p.m. Only the top four teams based on tournament win-loss records are assured a fourth game in the two-day meet.
The Wolverines made a quick stop in Burley on Thursday on their long, four-hour trip to Preston. Thursday's Wood River-Burley make-up game wrapped up the league campaign for the Wolverines.
On Tuesday, Wood River didn't fare well against Burley. A big rally followed by a little letdown was not the formula for success for Wood River at Founders Field. Seven errors doomed the Hailey effort.
"It was a lot of fundamental stuff like fielding bunts," said coach Nelson about the defensive letdowns.
At home against Great Basin Conference West opponent Burley, the Wolverines (6-11, 0-5 league) scored six runs to tie the game 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth, but gave up the game-winning run in the seventh in a narrow 10-9 loss to Burley (7-15, 2-2 league).
With Keven Abbott and Sean Bunce aboard and two outs in the sixth, Wolverine Greg Wakefield jacked a game-tying three-run blast for his third home run in as many games. Michale Brunker, Bryan Bray and Zak Sjoberg also tagged doubles for Wood River.
After Burley pushed across an unearned run in the visitor seventh, Wood River threatened to tie the game again but couldn't get the hit it needed.
"We came back and battled hard," Nelson said.
Tuesday's game marked Wood River's Senior Night, which honored six upperclassmen—Travis Job, Brunker, Wakefield, Bray, Bunce and Pat Gove.
Wood River will be the fourth seed in next week's league tournament and will likely travel to defending league champion Minico of Rupert (13-11, 4-1 league) in the #1-#4 opener. Jerome (10-7, 4-2) should host #3-seeded Burley in another first-round game.
This week, league kingpins Minico and Jerome split a home-and-home series. Minico's sidearm sophomore Casey Christiansen tossed a 1-0, three-hit shutout at Jerome on Tuesday. Jerome came back Wednesday at Rupert and won 11-8 over a Minico squad that had outscored league foes 32-2 in the first four Spartan league games this spring.