Wood River American Legion baseball players made positive things happen Monday in their Area C “A” season-opening doubleheader against the visiting Kimberly Astros at Hailey’s Founders Field.
The Wranglers swept the Astros 11-6 and 10-0, giving Wood River its first season-opening sweep of an out-of-town opponent in five years.
It was quite a reversal of fortunes. Wood River Legion teams had dropped six of their last seven meetings against Kimberly teams by a 92-48 score dating way back to 2009.
Alert and opportunistic on the basepaths, solid and sometimes spectacular on defense, the Wranglers got outstanding pitching from starter Finn Isaacson and two relievers in the 11-6 opening-game victory.
Wood River put its leadoff hitter on base in all six at-bats and pieced together three separate three-run innings. Seven players drove in runs and the Wranglers out-hit coach A.J. Schroeder’s Astros 10-7.
Righthander Isaacson (5 innings, 92 pitches, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 3 HBP, 3 K) was tough when it counted as the Astros stranded 11 runners, seven in scoring position. The Astros drew nine free passes, but only one of those runners scored.
Pitching one inning in relief apiece were new addition Bryce John from Gooding, who gave up two leadoff hits in the sixth but ended up yielding only one run, and seventh-inning closer Cam Benson.
The third Wrangler righty of the game, Benson enticed Astros slugger Ridge Lee to pop out to first baseman Adrian Rojas to end the two-hour and 10-minute game. All Lee had done was smack three long doubles and drive home three runs. In his last visit to Founders, Lee (4 hits, 6 RBI) led a 23-12 Kimberly rout of Wood River in high school action April 9.
Isaacson also made a terrific, diving, horizontal catch going to his right while playing center field in the seventh inning to rob Astros leadoff hitter J.T. Grover and help choke off the remaining Kimberly threat.
Third-year Wranglers coach Trent Seamons complimented his team afterward, saying “A good job all around.”
At the plate, leadoff Cam Benson (3 hits, 4 runs) reached base all four trips and belted a long triple in the fourth. Isaacson (2 hits, 2 runs, 3 RBI) also delivered. First baseman Gunner Gibson blooped a two-out, two-run single in the sixth extending the 9-6 lead to 11-6.
Other Wrangler RBIs came from Alec Nordsieck, Nick Brunker, Brandon Benson and shortstop John. Left fielder Dylan Broman scored a run on an alert base-running play, and third baseman Ben Williams gloved a hard liner to end a 1-2-3 inning for Isaacson.
In Monday’s nightcap, Brunker moved from catcher to pitcher and tossed a five-hit shutout with three walks and four strikeouts. Wood River played errorless ball in the 10-0 run-rule triumph and came up with 11 hits stretched evenly throughout the lineup.
The game was scoreless until the third, when Wood River pushed across four runs and added four more in the fourth.
Seamons said, “It’s nice to see the guys make adjustments at the plate as the game goes along. We’ve been working hard in practice and it’s showing. The guys are playing with a lot more confidence.”
Wood River (2-0, 2-0 league) travels to Nampa on Thursday for the 12-team Wood Bat Father’s Day Classic tournament. The Wranglers open against the Meridian Rangers at 10 a.m. Thursday at Skyview High.
The Wranglers play the Treasure Valley Stars Friday, June 14 at 7 p.m., also at Skyview, and then move to Nampa’s Rodeo Park diamond for back-to-back games Saturday, June 15—against league rival Pocatello Razorbacks at 4:30 p.m. and against the host Nampa Braves at 7 p.m.
Placement games dependent on pool-play results are Sunday at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Wood River returns to Founders Field Tuesday, June 18 for a league twinbill against the Buhl Tribe at 3 p.m.