Four Wood River Baseball and Softball Association youth baseball teams are among 24 Idaho squads in three divisions gathering in Hailey for the 41st annual Ray Nelson Invitational tournament Thursday through Saturday, July 11-13.
The only Wood River entry in the 10-team 10-U tournament will begin play Thursday at 6 p.m. against Twin Falls Cowboys at Nelson Field. The other four Wood River teams swing into action Friday at 8 a.m.
Games are played mostly at Nelson Field. Other sites are Founders Field, Wood River High School softball field, and the Wood River Middle School baseball field, all in Hailey.
Summing up, there are two Wood River teams in the six-team 12-U (12-and-under) division and one Wood River team in the 10-team 10-U class. In addition, there is one Babe Ruth entry from the Wood River Valley in the eight-team 15-U class for older ballplayers.
A family/player barbecue is Friday night after the day’s final game, at which time the Donnelley Sports Skills Challenge, for 12-U teams, is held.
It features competitions like outfield relay, around the horn, fastest around the bases and home run derby. Donnelley Sports and Smith Optics are offering prizes. A team can enter one player only, per event.
Tournament championship games start Saturday at 4 p.m.
East Boise won last year’s 15-U Nelson title 7-2 over Caldwell. The Mini-Cassia Sluggers defeated Wood River White 5-4 and 10-4 in the 10-U finale, and the Nampa Blue All-Stars won the 12-U title 8-7 and 16-4 over Wood River Green.
The tourney started in 1972. It is named for Hailey baseball booster Ray Nelson, who bequeathed a love of the game to family members and friends before passing away in 1970.
Here are Nelson rosters of the Wood River baseball teams:
Wood River 15-U team
WR: Coaches Juan Martinez, Jordan Moeller and Keven Abbott.
Players are Jens Blackman, Alec Broman, Wilson Dunn, Jett Erickson, Owen Gifford, Evan Hesselbacher, Christian Hovey, Canyon Macdonald, Brock Mary, Tiernan Naghsh, Kyle Nelson, Zachary Nelson, Wyatt Parish, Andy Ruiz, Cade Schott, Jack Stevens and Hunter Stewart.
First game Friday at 8 a.m. at Founders Field vs. Twin Falls.
Wood River 12-U A team
WR: Coaches Matt Douthit and Brian Nelson.
Players are Jake Blackburn, Ike Buxton, James Cantrell, Henry Cherp, Hunter Diehl, Klayton Douthit, Dominick Leos, Fabian Leos, Crow Macdonald, Connor Manning, Andrew Nelson, Blake Nelson, Quintin Ossman and Alexx Sanders.
First game Friday at 8 a.m. vs. Meridian Maniacs at the WRHS softball field, the winner to play Burley Rivercats 12 noon on the same field.
Wood River 12-U B team
WR: Coach Brandon Brown.
Players are Jake Albright, Christian Bothwell, Dalton Brown, Hunter Geisler, Jake Gorham, KC Marcroft, Barrett Ott, John Radford, Abel Rojas, Steven Roth, Jackson Swenke and Jack Wojcik.
First game Friday at 8 a.m. vs. Meridian Sliders on Nelson Field No. 1, the winner to play Minico Swaggers at 12 noon on the same diamond.
Wood River 10-U team
WR: Coaches Bryan Speth, Jeff Burrell and Brant Tanner.
Players are Zane Barckholtz, Josh Blackburn, Deke Burrell, Axel Diehl, Cole Peterson, Alex Shafer, Ethan Shoemaker, Colby Speth, Huck Sprong, Ashton Tanner and Hunter Thompson.
First game Thursday at 6 p.m. vs. Twin Falls Cowboys on Nelson Field No. 2, the winner to play Meridian Maulers Friday at 10 a.m. on that field.