Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Babe Ruth boys heat up with close wins

Win Twin Falls tournament

    “It was extremely hot,” said Wood River 14-U Babe Ruth baseball coach Juan Martinez about the nine-team Twin Falls Invitational tournament played Friday and Saturday in temperatures of 103 degrees.
    Martinez said, “I told the boys the first day that the heat was going to be brutal, and that the first team that didn’t quit would win this thing. And sure enough we battled all the way.”
    Wood River’s 17-player squad of 13-14 year olds (5-1 over 2 days) not only battled, they won the tournament Saturday with three straight wins including a 5-4 semi-final upset over Nampa 15-U and a 9-8 championship game victory over the Twin Falls Bulldogs.
    “Our bench was key through the whole day, with everybody believing in the brotherhood aspect of the team,” said Martinez, assisted by Keven Abbott and Jordan Moeller.
    Amidst a backdrop of lightning storms against Twin Falls in the exciting title game, Wood River used four pitchers with left-hander Christian Hovey and eighth-inning closer Cade Schott finally holding the Bulldogs down in extra frames.
    In the bottom of the eighth of an 8-8 tie game, leadoff hitter Alec Broman was hit by a pitch, Schott walked and Hovey provided the walk-off winning run 9-8 with an RBI gapper. Earlier in the game, Kyle Nelson threw two innings and Owen Gifford tossed three-plus.
    Wood River had run-ruled the Bulldogs in Friday’s action, after beating Nampa’s 13-U squad in its first game. Later Friday, the older Nampa 15-U team handed Wood River its only loss in 10-run fashion. That lopsided loss made Saturday’s semi-final win over Nampa 15-U more satisfying.
    Hailey’s path to the title began early Saturday with a late rally producing an 8-0 win over Kimberly as righthander Gifford and Kyle Nelson combined on a two-hit shutout. Gifford delivered a two-run double.
    Against Nampa 15-U, Gifford tossed the first four innings and Hovey finished up with the final three frames. A bases-loaded two-run double by Schott in the top of the seventh was the 5-4 difference. Hovey set Nampa 15-U down 1-2-3 in the home half of the seventh.
    “We did a great job to persevere there,” said Martinez.
    It was Wood River’s third tournament of the summer, and  its second victory—adding to the team’s Jerome Northside Invitational triumph June 8. Wood River placed fourth in a Meridian meet June 15, losing to eventual champion LaGrande (Ore.) in the semi-final.
    Next up for Wood River is the Ray Nelson 15-U tournament July 11-13 in Hailey, followed by the State Babe Ruth meet later in July.

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