Tournament time has arrived for Great Basin Conference 4A high school baseball and softball teams. That means anything can happen and usually does on the diamond.
Last May, for instance, the Jerome Tigers softball team came out of the third seed in the six-team league to beat No. 4-seeded Twin Falls 9-6 for Jerome's second straight conference title. Then Jerome (19-8) beat Twin Falls (16-13) again 5-3 in the State 4A tournament third-place game.
In baseball, the No. 2-seeded Minico Spartans trounced top-seeded defending GBC king Twin Falls 21-6 and 14-4 for Minico's sixth conference title in seven years. But Minico (19-8) fell flat two-and-out at the State 4A tournament, and Twin Falls (23-5) won the state title 5-3 over Kuna.
At stake in each double elimination tournament is one automatic state tourney berth from the GBC, and one state play-in ticket for second places.
The Wood River baseball team saw plenty of the 2012 version of the defending state champion Twin Falls Bruins during a three-game league series last weekend and dropped 14-2, 26-0 and 21-0 decisions. Twin Falls (19-3, 14-1) earned the top tourney seed.
Wood River baseball (1-21, 0-15) traveled to No. 3 Jerome (15-7, 9-6) Tuesday for a first-round tourney game while No. 4 Burley (8-14, 7-8) hosted No. 5 Canyon Ridge (6-14, 4-11). If the Wolverines lost at Jerome, they will travel again to the loser of Burley-Canyon Ridge Thursday, May 3 at 5 p.m.
Injury bug for softball
Having already lost shortstops Kaitana Martinez and Shelby Cooper to season-ending knee injuries, the Wood River softball team lost another important player last week during a three-game series with the league-leading Twin Falls Bruins, in Twin Falls.
Top-seeded Twin Falls (18-3, 13-2) run-ruled Wood River 16-0 in the first game of a doubleheader Friday, then did the same in the second game with an 11-run fourth inning uprising for an 18-3 victory.
Just three plays before the 15-run rule was imposed, a nasty collision in short left field left two Wolverines on the ground for several minutes.
Shortstop Ashley Hicks and left fielder Lacy Harrington, both freshmen, were chasing a fly ball when they collided, head first—leaving Hicks with a nasty cut on her forehead that required stitches. Harrington suffered a cut lip, bruised knee and a concussion that will likely sideline her for the season, coach Dale Martin said.
Wood River, out-hit 25-7 at Twin Falls, bounced back Saturday at home and led Twin Falls 6-3 after four frames before the Bruins scored the final six runs of their 9-6 triumph.
Hailey's nine-hit attack included three hits by Haylee Thompson (double) and Sydney Tidwell's fifth homer, a towering two-run shot giving Wood River an early 3-1 lead.
Pitcher Brittney Bradley (5-10) allowed one earned run in three-plus innings of relief, but seven errors didn't help the Hailey cause. Over the three Twin Falls games, Wood River had 15 errors, to two for Twin.
With a "Senior Day" home win over Burley (0-19, 0-12) Tuesday, Wood River (6-13, 3-9 league) would have nailed down the fourth seed for the league tournament that starts Saturday, May 5 with five games at Twin Falls High School. The Wolverines will open tournament play Saturday at noon against No. 5 Minico (6-14, 4-11)—that winner drawing Twin Falls next.