Speedy freshman pinch runner Valeria Morse was one of many heroes for the Wood River High School softball team Saturday during its Great Basin Conference home twinbill against Minico's Spartans.
Morse scored both winning runs in Wood River's exciting 9-8, 9-8 walk-off wins over Minico at South Valley Sports Complex field, Hailey. Freshman Brittney Bradley (5-8, 4.64 ERA) was the winning pitcher in both, throwing 14 innings and yielding eight earned runs.
Wood River's first home wins of the 2012 campaign, combined with Friday's 11-10 win over Minico at Rupert, gave coach Dale Martin's Wolverines (6-10, 3-6 league) their first league wins—as well as their first league sweep.
Saturday sweltering temperatures turned into a very sweet day for Wood River. The Wolverines will likely play Minico in the first round of the six-team GBC tournament May 5 so it was vital to establish things against the Spartans.
In the first game the Wolverines seized an early 3-0 lead on a first-pitch, three-run homer by leading hitter Sydney Tidwell (.448 season, 26 hits, 15 RBI), the junior first sacker who has four of Wood River's eight homers for the season.
Defense wasn't the Hailey strong suit in the first game, however. The Wolverines (7 errors) coughed up six unearned runs and let Minico (6-9, 4-6) back into the game. Designated hitter Lacy Harrington (2 hits, 4 RBI) supplied Wood River with a 7-4 lead on a two-run single in the fifth, but Minico crept ahead 8-7 with two unearned runs in the seventh.
Things didn't look good for Wood River, but senior left fielder Devan Atkinson (.277, 15 RBI) drew a four-pitch walk with one out. Sophomore second baseman Cassidy Cooper (2 hits, 2 runs) delivered a clutch single, and Harrington continued her hitting heroics with the game-winning two-run single.
Since joining the varsity a week ago from the JV, Harrington has done the job. She was 5-for-10 in three games against Minico and was toughest with two strikes against her. Others in the 11-hit attack were Kori Paradis (2 hits, .385 season average), Bradley (2 hits, double) and Tidwell (2 hits).
In Saturday's second game, Minico jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first frame. Wolverine freshman catcher Ciceley Peavey jump-started the 15-hit Wood River attack with her first-ever varsity homer—a grand slam in the home second stanza for a 4-4 tie. The close game stayed tied 8-8 after five.
Bradley stranded Minico's potential go-ahead runner with a strikeout and then earned a walk as the Wolverine leadoff hitter in the home half. A bunt and Spartan throwing error put two runners in scoring position—and pinch runner Morse beat the throw with a beautiful slide into home for the victory.
Atkinson (3 hits, 2 runs), Cooper (3 hits) and senior outfielder Haylee Thompson (2 doubles, 2 RBI, .313 average) were the top hitters in the nightcap. Adding two hits each were Tidwell (double, 2 runs), Harrington (.357) and Peavey.
Wood River pitcher Bradley was the weekend workhorse, going all seven innings and stranding 11 Spartan runners during Friday's 11-10 road win.
Trailing 5-3 and 9-5 and out-hit 15-10 for the game, the Wolverines pieced together a five-run sixth for an 11-9 lead. Bradley was also a big contributor at the plate, cranking out a three-run double. It was one of five Wolverine doubles in the team's first conference victory.
Other hitters on a windy spring day were freshman shortstop Ashley Hicks (2 hits, double), Paradis (2 hits, 3 runs, double), Tidwell (double, 2 runs), Peavey (double, 2 RBI), Thompson, Cooper and Harrington. Atkinson drove home two runs for the Wolverines.
Wood River, winners of five of their last seven games after an eight-game losing skid, will test its mettle against the league-leading Twin Falls Bruins (15-3, 10-2) on Thursday, April 26 for a 3 p.m. doubleheader in Twin Falls.
The two teams will meet again Friday, April 27 at 4:30 p.m. on the Hailey diamond. Meanwhile, Minico will have its hands full with two-time defending league champion Jerome (11-5, 9-3) for a three-game series this weekend.
Wood River wraps up its regular-season slate Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1-2 against the Burley Bobcats (0-16, 0-9 league). The Wolverines will have their "Senior Day" on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. on the Dale Martin diamond, then go to Burley for two more next Wednesday.