Friday, May 10, 2013

Hailey girls move up in GBC softball

Capture third place in tournament

Express Staff Writer

     Behind the ironman pitching of sophomore Britney Bradley and the hitting of sophomore outfielder Lacy Harrington, the Wood River High School softball team won three games and pulled off an upset during this week’s Great Basin Conference tournament at Canyon Ridge in Twin Falls.

     No. 4-seeded Wood River (12-14) played one of its best games of the season in a loser-out situation Tuesday afternoon and beat the No. 3-seeded Jerome Tigers 5-3 to clinch third place in the six-team tournament. Harrington (3 RBI) was the hitting star with three of Hailey’s seven hits.

     The victory came in the second of three games Wood River needed to play Tuesday to stay alive in the double elimination tournament. Earlier Tuesday the Wolverines beat Burley for the fourth straight time 11-1. And later Tuesday, No. 1-seeded Canyon Ridge ended Wood River’s season 11-1.

     Wood River coach Dale Martin said, “We kind of ran out of gas (against Canyon Ridge) and made a couple of key errors that cost us seven unearned runs. But we played one of our best games of the season in defeating Jerome.”

     Key to the Wolverines being able to play three games covering 18 innings over five hours Tuesday was righty pitcher Bradley. The staff ace threw 292 pitches for the day. That’s way more than the 100 to 120 pitches she is called upon to pitch in a regular seven-inning game.

     For the season Bradley (9-12, 16-24 over 2 years) went 9-4 in the circle down the homestretch, and her steady performance was a big factor in the team’s success. Wood River started the season 0-8 then went 12-6 the rest of the way including a six-game winning streak.

     The outcome of the Wolverine season was a major improvement over last spring’s 9-15 campaign and two-and-out district tournament exit. This year, Wood River (3-2 at the district meet) started six sophomores and one freshman. Most of those sophomores got plenty of experience last year.

     Martin said, “The future looks good for Wood River softball although we are going to miss our four seniors—Rachel Conover, Kori Paradis, Shea Goitiandia and Sydney Tidwell.”

     Playing No. 5-seeded Burley Tuesday, Wood River trailed 1-0 after three innings then erupted for seven runs in the fourth. Run-scoring doubles by Paradis and Harrington fueled the uprising. Paradis then tripled in the two-run sixth as Wood River ended the game on the 10-run rule.

     Seven walks and four hit batsmen by Burley pitchers helped the Wolverines (11 hits) fill the basepaths. Meanwhile, Bradley scattered six hits and whiffed nine Bobcats. The result put Wood River up against Jerome, a tough-luck 9-7 loser to No. 2-seeded Twin Falls on Saturday afternoon.

     Once again, Wood River batters didn’t score in their first three at-bats. But Bradley (7 K, 1 BB) yielded only five hits for entire game, and only one run through five helping the Wolverines build a 4-1 lead. She ended up out-dueling Jerome’s fine senior star Paige Jackman, who walked four.

     Hailey sophomore shortstop Ashley Hicks belted an RBI double against Canyon Ridge. But the Riverhawks had built a 6-0 cushion by that point and ended the game early with five runs in their final two at-bats against Bradley—finally nailing down their first-ever state tournament berth.

     Defending tournament champion Twin Falls played Canyon Ridge Thursday for seeding purposes, as both teams had already earned berths for the State 4A tournament May 17-18 in Post Falls.

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