Friday, May 6, 2011

Softball team clinches second seed in GBC

Wolverine boys play Burley tough in tourney

Wood River freshman Mercedes Powell, heading for home during a Hailey game in April, has been a hit machine and a welcome addition for the Wolverines. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Wood River High School softball team did what it needed to do with three timely wins, and Hailey's baseball team played one of its best games of the season Tuesday in the opening round of the Great Basin Conference tourney.

Such encouraging developments this week still meant there was plenty of work to do for coach Dale Martin's Wolverine softball team and coach Matt Nelson's baseball squad in this week's GBC tournaments.

With 21-12, 13-12 and 19-1 wins over Minico of Rupert Tuesday and Wednesday, Wood River's softball team (11-11, 10-5 league) earned the second seed and a first-round bye in the GBC tourna-ment starting Saturday, May 7 at Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls.

The No. 6 Wood River boys (3-20) fell behind 4-0 after three innings of Tuesday's first-round play-off game at No. 3 Burley (14-9). The Wolverines rallied with resolve for a 5-4 lead and out-hit Burley 12-8 before ultimately falling 6-5 when the Bobcats pushed across two runs in the seventh.

Senior righty Jake Freeman tossed a strong complete game for the Wolverines while Kevin Jen-sen, Zach Israel and Alex Thomas all stroked extra-base hits. The determined effort came against a Burley team that had beaten Wood River 14-8, 13-3 and 10-0 in the season.

Wood River's boys tried to stay alive in the six-team, double elimination tournament Thursday at No. 5 Canyon Ridge (11-12), a 6-4 loser to No. 4 Jerome (12-10) on Tuesday. Thursday's Wood River-Canyon Ridge winner will play again Saturday, May 7 at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, Martin's girls needed three wins on back-to-back days against Minico to clinch the second seed. One loss would have dropped Wood River all the way to the fourth seed so there was no margin for error for a squad that had lost four of its last five games.

Tuesday on "Senior Day" for five girls who had played four varsity years with the program, Wood River (21 hits) jumped ahead 7-1 after two innings and 16-7 after three. Minico (5-17, 2-13) smashed out 19 hits of its own on a challenging day for both defenses.

Freshman Mercedes Powell (4-for-6, 3 doubles, 3 runs, 6 RBI) and senior Taylor Gove (4-for-5, 3 RBI) led the Hailey artillery. Other hitters were senior Madison Gove (triple, double), sophomore Sydney Tidwell (3 hits, double, 3 RBI), senior Ali Levy (2 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBI) and senior Josie Daw-son (2 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBI). Pitcher Levy (4 K, 5 BB) pitched all seven frames.

The two teams continued their strong hitting in Wednesday's pivotal first game at Rupert. Seek-ing the upset, the Spartans tallied three runs in the home seventh for a 12-12 tie. But Wood River pushed one run across in the eighth and Levy retired Minico 1-2-3 to finish off the 13-12 triumph.

Madison Gove (3 hits, 2 doubles), Tidwell (3-run double) and catcher Devan Atkinson (2 RBI) helped the cause. Hailey needed three innings to dispatch Minico in the 19-1 finale.

On Saturday, Wood River will play its first tournament game at 2 p.m. against the winner of the noontime opener between No. 3 defending GBC tournament champion Jerome (13-7, 9-6) and No. 6 Burley (4-14, 2-13). At the same time No. 1 Canyon Ridge (19-3, 13-2) will play the winner of No. 4 Twin Falls (12-9, 9-6) vs. No. 5 Minico.

At stake are two GBC berths for the State 4A tourney May 19 at Coeur d'Alene. Elimination games continue Tuesday, May 10, also at Canyon Ridge High School. The GBC tournament con-cludes Thursday, May 12 with the top two teams battling for state tournament seeding.

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