The Wood River American Legion Wranglers had one good game and one bad game Wednesday on the first day of the 12-team Area C "A" district tourney in American Falls.
Wood River, seeded sixth and last in the West Division, upset defending State "A" Legion champion Bonneville of Idaho Falls by a 6-4 score Wednesday morning behind the six innings-plus pitching of Collin Dean.
Coach Matt Nelson said about his team's 10th win in 11 games, "The big thing is we didn't have any errors—and Collin pitched awesome. The more pressure Bonneville put on him, the better he pitched."
Dean (5 BB, 6 K) scattered seven hits and reliever Jake Freeman secured the final two outs. Center fielder Alex Padilla made an excellent over-the-shoulder catch for the first out of the final frame. "It was a big catch for us," said Nelson.
The upset victory moved Wood River into the quarterfinals and kept the Wranglers in the hunt for the championship of the single elimination consolation meet. They played later Wednesday. It wasn't pretty.
Nelson said, "We played terribly in a 9-1 loss to Pocatello. We gave them six unearned runs with our five errors and got behind early when Pocatello scored three runs in the first." Losing pitcher was Taz Lyons.
< Wood River (18-21) dropped into the consolation bracket and played the Idaho Falls Rangers Thursday at 9 a.m. in a loser-out game. Idaho
Falls, seeded fourth in the East, fell to Kimberly in its debut Wednesday.
The Wranglers lost at Idaho Falls 11-1 and 9-8 on June 8 in the third and fourth games of the year.
After their letdown to West #2 seed Pocatello, Wood River players preferred to focus on the highlights of their game with Bonneville.
The Wranglers jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning on a one-out Zach Israel single, a Nic Brunker walk, a Jimmy Hague RBI single, a Padilla single to load the bases and a two-run single off the bat of Lyons.
Hague's one-out double in the third and Padilla's run-scoring single stretched the Hailey lead to 4-1. Keven Abbott walked in the fourth, stole two bases and scored making it 5-2 on an Israel bouncing ball.
Wood River (5 hits) kept chipping away in the fifth. Enjoying a solid game in the field, at bat and on the basepaths, Padilla was plunked with one out in the fifth. He stole second, scooted to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball for a 6-2 lead.
On the mound, Dean hung tough and repelled Bonneville threats in the third (3 straight whiffs with runners in scoring position) and the fifth—when he enticed a third-out ground ball with runners at second and third and the Bees trailing by only 6-4.
Commenting on his unheralded squad that was the last to qualify for the tournament, Nelson said, "You know, we don't have any pressure on us down here. All we have to do is go out there and play the game hard."