Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Busy bats boost WRHS girls to Burley sweep

Senior finale Thursday, then GBC tourney

Express Staff Writer

     They’ve played better games on defense.

     But Wood River High School softball players still managed to sweep two Great Basin Conference league games at Burley Thursday 9-8 and 24-15 with a total 31 hits for the road doubleheader.

     Coach Dale Martin liked the 33 runs scored by Hailey in the two games, but he wasn’t thrilled about the combined 16 errors that the Wolverines made—including 11 errors that led to nine unearned runs in the 24-15 second-game win.

     Still, Wood River (14-5, 10-3 road, 8-4 league) swept its third league doubleheader of the season and recorded the most wins by a Wolverine team since 2009—the year Wood River (16-12) captured its first-ever GBC title and placed fourth at the State 4A tourney.

     Martin said, “The first game wasn’t one of Wood River’s better games defensively. I didn’t think things could get much worse on defense but they did in the second game. Thank goodness for our offense. We hit the ball really well.”

     The Wolverines started the successful day with a come-from-behind victory behind the pitching of junior Brittney Bradley (7-4). In the process Bradley tied for second place on the all-time pitching victory list with a 23-28 mark.

     Squandering an early 4-0 lead, Wood River yielded seven unearned runs and trailed 8-5 after four. But leadoff hitter Ashley Hicks (3 hits, 2 runs, 3 stolen bases) ignited the Hailey offense with her ability to reach base, and Lacy Harrington (2 hits, 3 runs, 4 RBI) knocked out a homer.

     Other hitters were Shelby Cooper (2 hits, 2 RBI) and Bradley (RBI).

     In the circle, Bradley (7 hits, 8 K, 3 BB) allowed only one earned run and blanked the Bobcats in each of the final three innings. “Brittney pitched well,” Martin said.

     Wood River’s 12-run first inning explosion set the stage for the 39-run, 34-hit combined offense between the two teams in the nightcap. Burley rallied cutting its deficit to 15-12, but the Wolverines (21 hits) added nine runs in the fifth and sixth innings to seal the victory.

     Blair Radford (7-1) worked harder than she needed to with all the errors, but she earned her sixth straight pitching win with seven strikeouts and just four walks. At the dish she delivered two hits including a double and scored three runs.

     Leading the offense was Shelby Cooper (4-for-6, double, HR, 3 runs, 2 RBI) and she had plenty of help from:

     Hicks (2 hits, 4 runs, 2 RBI, 4 SB), Ciceley Peavey (2 hits, 4 runs, 4 RBI), Harrington (3 hits, 3 runs, 5 RBI), Bradley (3 hits, 2 RBI), Chloe Evans (2 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBI) and Sam Sutton (2 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBI).

     Wood River will host Burley Thursday, May 1 at 3:30 p.m. in a make-up league game for “Senior Night.” It is the final home game for senior sisters Shelby Cooper and Cassidy Cooper, who expect to play college softball in Montana.

     That clash, and Tuesday’s make-up doubleheader in Twin Falls against Canyon Ridge, will finalize the league standings for the GBC tournament Saturday, May 3 at top-seeded Twin Falls High.

     Wood River needed to beat Canyon Ridge twice Tuesday to slip past the Riverhawks into the second seed and a first-round bye for Saturday’s opening tournament day.

     If that didn’t happen, Wood River will have secured the No. 3 seed and will play No. 6 Burley at 12 noon Saturday. And the winner of that game will play No. 2 Canyon Ridge Saturday at 2 p.m., also on the Twin Falls High diamond.

     Last year’s GBC tournament champ was Twin Falls 6-5 over Canyon Ridge, with Wood River third.

     Only the top two teams from the double elimination tournament that ends Thursday, May 9 will qualify for the State 4A tournament May 16-17 at Skyview in Nampa.

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