Off to a 3-0 start prior to Tuesday’s games at Buhl, the Wood River American Legion baseball team will host its first home games Thursday, June 19 when Sugar-Salem comes to Hailey’s Founders Field.
The Area C “A” doubleheader starts at 2 p.m. It matches Wood River, a member of the Area C West Division, and Suger-Salem, an East Division team in the 21-team Area C for the summer of 2014.
In its 40th season of Legion baseball, Wood River has a 36-game regular-season schedule including 15 games at home.
Many players are returning from the 2014 Wood River High School team that finished the season with a 10-12 mark and won a game in the 4A Great Basin Conference tournament.
The roster features player/coach Nick Brunker, Finn Isaacson, Cade Schott, Tyler Price, Brandon Benson, Cam Benson, Jens Blackman, Zach Nelson, Owen Gifford, Jesse Vercelli, Nic Tidwell, Nelson Cantrell, Evan Hesselbacher, Mikey Levy, Adrian Rojas, Dylan Broman, Brock Mary, Christian Hovey and player/manager Lane Felger.
Guided by returning head coach Lars Hovey, the Wood River Wranglers are seeking their first winning season since 2009, when coach Matt Nelson’s Legion squad went 25-18 including 13-4 at Founders Field and placed fifth in the Area C “A” district tourney.
Former Legion star Trent Seamons coached the Hailey-based squad of 19-and-under ballplayers for three seasons from 2011-13, with a cumulative record of 26-48 including 14-17 last summer. Nelson’s overall record of 141-110 was for six summers from 2005-10.
The last time Wood River qualified for the 12-team Area C “A” district post-season tournament was 2010, and the last time Wood River went to state was when the Wranglers hosted the 2007 state tourney in Hailey and finished third at state with coach Nelson.
Coach Hovey, who started the Wood River High School baseball program in 1992, last coached in the local Legion program when Hailey fielded an “AA” team (11-20 record) and “A” team (16-21) in 2003.
In 2002, Hovey coached the Wood River “A” team to a franchise-best 40-20 record led by the pitching/hitting of eventual college and minor league baseball player Ryne Reynoso, and pitcher Steve Hansen.
Eli Lloyd then coached the Legion in 2004-05.
This year’s Area C “A” 12-team district tournament will be staged July 24-26 in Twin Falls. Of the 21 Area C teams, only 12 qualify for that double elimination tournament that sends its top three finishers to the State “A” meet in Nampa.
Defending Area C champion is Pocatello Razorbacks, a 2-1 10-inning winner over the Twin Falls Hawks in last July’s title game. Pocatello went on to win four of its six games at the state tournament for second place—losing 14-0 to Nampa in the championship contest.
In three preliminary games before traveling to Buhl on Tuesday, Hovey’s new Legion squad defeated Canyon Ridge 21-2 on June 5 in Twin Falls, and swept host Wendell 18-0 and 14-1 June 11. Sharing the pitching at Wendell were Broman, Isaacson, Tidwell, Cantrell and Cam Benson.
HEADLINE:2014 Wood River Wranglers American Legion Baseball
This year’s schedule for the 2014 Wood River American Legion Wranglers “A” baseball program (36 regular-season games—15 home and 21 away). All home games at Founders Field in Hailey. This year’s Area C “A” Senior League is for 19-and-under ballplayers. Both games count in the league standings for each West Division doubleheader. Home games in bold. The 18 West Division league games are shown with an asterisk. Head coach is Lars Hovey, assisted by Nick Brunker.
DATE, DAY............................ OPPONENT........................ LOCATION
June 5, Thursday Wood River 21, Canyon Ridge 2 Twin Falls
June 11, Wednesday Wood River 18, Wendell 0 Away
June 11, Wednesday Wood River 14, Wendell 1 Away
June 16, Monday Marathon game fundraiser Home, 4-7
June 17, Tuesday Buhl Tribe* Away, 6/8
June 19, Thursday Sugar-Salem Home, 2/4
June 20, Friday Treasure Valley Stars (2) Fruitland HS, 5/7
June 21, Saturday Boise Seminoles (2) Fort Boise, 12/2
June 23, Monday Bear Lake Bears* Home, 3/5
June 24, Tuesday Kimberly Astros* Away, 3/5
June 25, Wednesday Blackfoot Broncos* Home, 3/5
June 30, Monday............ Twin Falls Cowboys*.................. Home, 3/5
2014 Firecracker 18-team Invitational in Boise
July 3, Thursday Mt. View Toros Centennial HS, 11:45
July 3, Thursday Meridian Rangers Centennial HS, 2:30
July 4, Friday Boise Gems Capital HS, 11:45
July 5, Saturday Boise Seminoles Borah HS, 11:45
July 5, Saturday Mt. Home Royals Borah HS, 5:15
July 6, Sunday Placement game Capital/Borah, TBA
July 8, Tuesday Pocatello Razorbacks* Home, 3/5
July 10, Thursday Burley Green Sox* Away, 5/7
July 12, Saturday Wendell Trojans (2) Home, 11/1
July 14, Monday TF Hawks (Canyon Ridge)* Twin Falls, 4/6
July 16, Wednesday TF Blackhawks (Canyon Ridge)* Home, 3/5
July 18, Friday Buhl Tribe (9 innings, non-league) Home, 4:00
July 24, Thursday............ Area C “A” tournament................... Twin Falls
July 30, Wednesday State “A” tournament banquet Nampa
July 31, Thursday State “A” tournament begins Nampa
August 4, Monday State “A” tournament finale Nampa
Aug. 7-12, Thurs.-Tues. Regional “A” tournament Anchorage, Ak.
NOTES—This year’s Area C “A” league is made up of 21 teams, 10 in the West Division and 11 in the East Division. The West teams are Wood River, Burley, Buhl, Kimberly, Twin Falls Cowboys, two Twin Falls teams from Canyon Ridge (Hawks and Blackhawks), Bear Lake, Pocatello Razorbacks and Blackfoot Broncos. The East teams are Madison Red and White, Sugar-Salem, Rigby, Shelley, Pocatello Rebels, Upper Valley from South Fremont, and four Idaho Falls teams (Bees, Rangers, Grizz, Knights)…….Each West team must play 2 games apiece against each other West team, and pick up whatever other games it can against the East Division……..Based on final regular-season standings, the top 6 teams in the West and the top 6 teams in the East qualify for the 12-team Area C “A” district tournament starting July 24 in Twin Falls, hosted by the Twin Falls Cowboys and Twin Falls Blackhawks. The top 2 teams in the West and East receive first-round byes in the tournament…….From the 12-team Area C district tournament, the top 3 teams qualify for the State “A” tournament July 31-Aug. 4 in Nampa hosted by the Nampa Braves. That state tournament will feature 8 teams—3 from south-central and southeastern Idaho Area C, 3 from the Boise area and 2 from northern Idaho.