Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pair of wins at Lady Dawgs, but a big loss

Shortstop Cooper injures her knee

They won two games on Friday the 13th during the annual Kimberly Lady Dawgs softball tournament.

But Wood River High School softball players would have gladly traded the victories for a little better fortune.

On a superstitiously unlucky day, star Wood River sophomore shortstop and clean-up hitter Shelby Cooper had no luck at all. She suffered a torn ACL knee injury fielding a ball in her team's 12-3 victory over the South Fremont Cougars from St. Anthony.

Wood River assistant coach Dick Coleman said, "It was a simple looking play, a routine grounder up the middle. However an injury can happen to any athlete at any time, and Shelby's cleat appeared to stick in the infield dirt as she twisted her body to make the play."

Cooper, a two-year starter with precocious softball talents, was batting .344 on the season for a young Wolverine team that has struggled on offense—scoring about three runs fewer per game than last spring's 12-win season.

The presence of Cooper in the lineup was vital since the loss of senior shortstop Kaitana Martinez. A strong leader, leadoff hitter Martinez was batting .444 before tearing her ACL in a post-season All-Star basketball game March 17.

"Four freshmen are now likely to see major playing time in the Wolverine lineup with only three weeks and nine games left in regular-season play," said Coleman about the ramifications of Cooper's loss.

Despite beating Marsh Valley of Arimo 6-4 and South Fremont 12-3 on the opening day of the round-robin tournament to snap an eight-game losing skid, Wood River couldn't maintain its stiff upper lip for long Saturday.

Teton of Driggs, tied 9-9 with the Hailey squad after five frames Saturday, exploded for 10 runs in the sixth to win going away 19-10. Wood River committed 10 errors, four coming in the big Teton rally.

"The Lady Wolverines played five good innings against Teton only to watch the wheels fall off in the sixth," said Coleman.

He added, "After the debacle the Wolverines could not muster the energy to compete against Buhl in their fourth game of the tournament."

Buhl won 6-0 with junior varsity hurler Bree Pettinger throwing a three-hit shutout in her first varsity start.

Offensively Wood River mustered a .258 team batting average with only 25 hits in the two-day tournament, seven going for extra bases. The Hailey girls stranded 26 runners.

Leading the way with four hits apiece were Devan Atkinson (2-run HR), Kori Paradis (double) and freshman shortstop Ashley Hicks.

Junior first baseman Sydney Tidwell (6 RBI) also drilled four hits including a clutch three-run triple that rallied Wood River from a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead against Marsh Valley.

On the plus side, pitching was strong for Wood River over its four games at Kimberly's Spring Classic.

Brittney Bradley started three of the four games, threw 17 innings and yielded only eight earned runs, with 16 strikeouts and seven walks.

Junior Favi Ruiz (6 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 BB, 5 K) nailed down her first pitching win of the season over South Fremont, making clutch pitches to strand nine Cougar runners. Her catcher, Atkinson, ripped two hits and her big homer. Bradley added 2 RBI and Paradis chipped in with two safeties. Third baseman Cassidy Cooper, a sophomore, scored three Wolverine runs.

In the Marsh Valley win, freshman catcher Ciceley Peavey ripped two doubles and scored three runs.

Wood River (3-10, 0-6 league) resumes Great Basin Conference action Friday, April 20 with a single game against the improved Minico Spartans (6-6, 4-3) at Rupert. Last year Minico finished 6-19 including four losses to Wood River, the last 11-6 in its district tourney exit.

The Wolverines will entertain Minico for a 12 noon doubleheader Saturday, April 21 on the South Valley Sports Complex diamond, Hailey.

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