Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cowboys a little fresher on breezy Legion day

First home games for Wood River ballplayers

     Wood River American Legion baseball coach Trent Seamons likes the hitting potential of his 2012 squad of 19-and-under players and they’ve showed the ability to swing it in their first six games—averaging eight runs each outing.

     Now, if the Wranglers (2-4) can correct some defensive and baserunning lapses, they might be able to put together a winning streak. That’s what Monday’s home Area C “A” doubleheader with the Twin Falls Cowboys demonstrated on a very breezy and cool afternoon.

     Wood River ripped out 29 hits and scored 17 runs over 16 innings of action.

     But coach Mark Schaal’s Cowboys caught the ball better and made fewer mistakes. The ‘Pokes came away with a 11-6 and 12-11 (9 innings) doubleheader sweep that left the Wranglers hungry to close out their games on winning notes.

     Wood River did everything but win the extra-inning nightcap. After falling behind 8-0 after two innings and trailing 9-1 in the fifth, the Wranglers erupted for nine runs in the home fifth and seized a 10-9 lead. They sent 14 batters to the plate and collected 10 hits.

     Seamons said, “We just kept finding the holes.”

     Outfielder Will Long was one of the biggest contributors in the rally with two clutch hits. Lefty Austin Hafer was summoned in relief and delivered three-and-a-third innings of strong pitching—yielding one infield hit. But he turned into the hard-luck loser when two Wrangler errors in the ninth led to two unearned runs.

     Still, Tim Boyle (3 hits) led off the home ninth with a slicing double down the right field line and scored on Long’s third hit of the evening, a sharply-hit single to right.

     A walk to Brandon Benson and a two-out infield single by Hafer filled the bases with two outs, but Wood River couldn’t plate the equalizer off winning Cowboys pitcher Cody Root.

     Cameron Benson (2 hits, doiuble), Nic Brunker (2 hits) and Armando Gomez (2 hits) also contributed to the 17-hit Wood River attack in the nightcap of the doubleheader.

     In the first game, starting Wrangler righty Cameron Benson threw hard but not always on target, piling up 93 pitches in four innings of work and leaving with a 7-1 deficit chiefly due to four unearned runs.

     Wood River rallied with two runs in the fourth and fifth cutting its deficit to 7-5. But the Cowboys kept putting its leadoff hitters on base and scoring them—finally pushing three decisive runs across the plate in the seventh stanza with No. 9 hitter Sterling Duggan cracking a big two-run double.

     Like the circumstances of the nightcap, the Wranglers also loaded the bases with two outs in the home half of the final frame but couldn’t draw any closer and fell 11-6 in the first game of the home season.

     Both teams had 12 hits with five Wood River ballplayers accounting for two hits apiece—Cameron Benson, Brunker, Hafer, Alec Nordsieck and Brandon Benson.

     Hafer caught a favorable wind in the first inning and belted a long, 400-foot-plus homer over the center field fence for a solo round-tripper. He added a double later in the game. For Twin Falls, top hitters were Kaleb Jones (2 hits, 3 RBI) and Dakota Kent (3 hits).

     The winning Cowboy pitcher was Wyatt Doyle (6.3 innings, 3 earned runs, 3 BB).

     Wood River traveled for a league doubleheader against Buhl’s Tribe on Tuesday. The Wranglers entertain Pocatello Monday, June 25 for another 3 p.m. Founders Field twinbill.

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