What a difference a day made for the Wood River High School softball team! Tuesday's rainouts in the Great Basin Conference 4A tournament gave the Wolverines a much-needed rest day after their 19-18 upset loss to Minico Monday.
Coach Dale Martin's young Wolverines regrouped and came to play Wednesday on the Twin Falls field. They firmed up their defense, juiced up their hitting and whipped three opponents in back-to-back-to-back games over six hours.
For the three games, Wood River batted 44-for-88 (.500) and committed only three errors in 17 pressure-packed innings. They eliminated three teams and remained standing tall—having won six of their last seven GBC games squaring their season league mark at 9-9.
The Wolverines also earned a shot at a State 4A tournament berth because they played top-seeded Twin Falls (21-7) Thursday in a loser-out game. Third-seeded Jerome (15-12) sent Twin Falls into the loser bracket of the double elimination tournament with an upset 10-6 victory Wednesday.
Wednesday turned out to be a hard-fought and remarkable turn of events for Wood River that ended with a shocking 11-6 upset triumph over the #2-seeded Canyon Ridge Riverhawks (24-7)—knocking the highly regarded Hawks out of the tournament without a win.
Credit a determined group of Wolverines that put their heads together and started clicking.
Fourth-seeded Wood River (12-15) opened its challenging quest Wednesday at 1 p.m. with a 22-0 five-inning run-rule win over #6-seeded Burley (0-26) behind the one-hit shutout pitching of Ali Levy (0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Levy pitched a fine game, the coaches said, and had excellent defensive support.
Hitters were K.T. Martinez (3 hits, 4 runs, 3 RBI), Madison Gove (3 hits, triple, 4 runs, 3 RBI), Alex Lindbloom (2 runs, 3 RBI), Haylee Thompson (3 RBI), Levy (triple, 3 RBI) and Hunter Thompson (2 hits, 2 runs).
Martin's squad avenged its loss to #5-seeded Minico (6-20) with a 14-3 five-inning triumph that sent the Spartans home.
Lefty Madison Gove (3 ER, 9 BB, 5 K) threw a two-hitter at Minico and Wood River added 13 more hits to the 15 they had against Burley. Sydney Tidwell (3 hits, 2 doubles, 3 runs, 2 RBI) and Josie Dawson (4 RBI) were big Wolverine run producers.
Wood River needed a solid start against a Canyon Ridge team that had swept its three regular-season games against the Wolverines. And they got it with a six-run first inning uprising highlighted by Hunter Thompson's three-run triple.
The Riverhawks chipped away against Levy (8 hits, 6 ER, 8 BB, 2 K) and cut their deficit to 7-6 after five. But Wood River (16 hits) exploded for four runs in the sixth, senior captain Lindbloom (2 hits, 4 RBI) clearing the bags with a two-run double. And junior righty Levy (9-11) blanked the Hawks in their final two at-bats.
Hitters were Haylee Thompson (3 hits, 2 RBI), Martinez (2 hits, double), Madison Gove (3 hits, 3 runs) and Hunter Thompson (2 hits, double, 3 RBI). Wood River, outhitting the Hawks 16-8, finished the game with a .420 batting average in its 18 district contests.
Jerome ends WRHS baseball season
The #3-seeded Jerome Tigers (15-15) held off Wood River's comeback bid Wednesday and eliminated coach Matt Nelson's Wolverines (7-18) from the GBC tournament by a 6-4 score, at Jerome.
Jake Freeman (3-4) pitched a strong game for #5-seeded Wood River (7 hits) but his batters couldn't overcome the 5-1 lead built by Jerome after two innings of Monday's rain-suspended game. Senior Juan Martinez belted a homer in a three-run fourth-inning rally.