Friday, April 6, 2012

Lead slips away, softball falls to ‘Hawks 12-10

Seeking an upset, Wood River High School softball players built an 8-3 lead after five frames and had the favored Canyon Ridge Riverhawks on the ropes Tuesday afternoon on the Hailey softball diamond.

But unbeaten Canyon Ridge (5-0, 3-0) rallied for nine runs in its final two at-bats and escaped with a 12-10 victory in the third and final Great Basin Conference meeting of the two teams this season. Wood River (1-5, 0-3) lost its fifth straight game.

The home opener at South Valley Sports Complex in Hailey looked promising for the Wolverines when they rallied from a 2-0 deficit for five runs in the fourth and finally put a dent in the armor of Canyon Ridge pitcher Lauren Shotwell.

Shotwell had almost singlehandedly beaten Wood River March 22 in Twin Falls by throwing a 3-0 shutout and whiffing 16 Wolverines in the opener, and then tossing two innings of scoreless relief in the 12-6 second-game victory.

On Tuesday, Shotwell extended her shutout streak over Wood River to 12 consecutive innings by setting down the Wolverines without a run in the first three frames. That's when Wood River came alive.

Left fielder Devan Atkinson drilled a three-run double sparking Wood River's five-run fourth for a 5-2 lead. Atkinson then scored on a wild throw to third on a errant pickoff play. Freshman Valeria Morse used her exceptional speed to score all the way from first base in her role as pinch runner.

Wood River freshman pitcher Brittney Bradley (7 innings, 6 earned runs, 4 K, 6 BB) held Canyon Ridge's 10-runs-per-game offense to just two runs in the first four innings. She yielded a monster home run by Shotwell in the fifth.

Nevertheless Wood River came up in the home fifth and extended its lead to 8-3.

Third baseman Kori Paradis (2 hits, 2 runs) led off with a line drive single to center field and scored when first baseman Sydney Tidwell (2 hits, 2 runs) absolutely scorched a line drive off the very top of the left field fence. It went for an RBI double, then second baseman Shelby Cooper (2 hits, 2 RBI) delivered Tidwell with a run-scoring double to left field. Catcher Ciceley Peavey (2 RBI) added a one-out sacrifice fly.

But Hailey freshman pitcher Bradley started to tire in the sixth inning and Canyon Ridge filled the bases with no outs. Riverhawks catcher Kayla Thompson (2 hits, 3 RBI) cracked a two-run double cutting Wood River's lead to 8-6. Then, with two outs, Shotwell (4 hits, 6 RBI) tied the game with a clutch two-run double.

Unfortunately for the home team, Wood River put its first two batters aboard in the home sixth when Bradley (2 hits) ripped a single to left and shortstop Ashley Hicks reached on an error. But the Wolverines couldn't score off of Riverhawks reliever Emma Stephens and Canyon Ridge came to bat.

In the seventh, catcher Thompson delivered again for Canyon Ridge with an RBI double to center for a 10-8 lead, then Shotwell produced a two-run, two-out single putting the Riverhawks ahead 12-8.

Center fielder Haylee Thompson sent a leadoff double to center in the home seventh, and Peavey and Bradley ripped RBI doubles cutting the 'Hawks lead to 12-10, but 'Hawks winning pitcher Stephens enticed a ground ball for the third out to snuff out the Hailey comeback.

The teams finished with 11 hits apiece, and Wood River (averaging over 5 errors a game) cut its miscues to just an untimely two over the course of the seven-inning game, but the improved effort wasn't enough to walk off the field with a win.

Wood River travels to Jerome today, Friday for a single Great Basin game at 4:30 p.m. at Forsythe Field, then the Wolverines and Jerome will meet for a league doubleheader Saturday, April 7 at 12 noon at South Valley Sports Complex.

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