The Wood River Wranglers baseball team combined for 19 hits in two games for a double-header sweep of Bear Lake on Monday at Founders Field in Hailey, winning convincingly in each game, 14-4, and 10-0.
The Wranglers came away with a 12-0 record for the first time in Wood River American Legion history by piling on the runs and keeping the defense solid.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said head coach Lars Hovey.
In the first game, Finn Isaacson (3-0) got the win despite only going three innings. He would go onto strike out two while only allowing one earned run.
Hovey said he took Isaacson out early to preserve his arm for Blackfoot.
Wood River took an early 10-0 lead and didn’t let up. The game was called in the fifth inning due to the 10-run rule.
Owen Gifford had three hits and three RBIs to lead Wood River in hitting. Cam Benson added two hits of his own with two runs and two RBIs. Benson added two stolen bases.
Brandon Benson and Nic Tidwell both had a hit each in the game with two runs. Tidwell added two RBIs.
In the second game, Wood River’s pitching only allowed three hits in the game with Tidwell on the mound and getting the win. Tidwell also did it at the plate and helped his own cause with two hits, two RBIs and a double in the game.
Both Bensons had two hits each (Cameron putting in four RBIs).
Hovey has his Wranglers running on all cylinders on offense (.500 on base percentage) while making other teams earn their bases.
So far, Wood River has had a knack for scoring early and holding its opponents with stellar pitching. Through 12 games, the Wranglers are averaging six runs in the first two innings of each game while holding their opponents to less than one run in the same span.
“We pride ourselves on winning the first inning,” Hovey said. “We’ve been on a tear as far as that’s concerned. Our pitching staff carries us through the rest of the game.”
With an undefeated record and lopsided victories amassed, the only area where a coach would need to have his team work on is to figure out how to keep the intensity up throughout the games.
In the double-header versus Boise last Saturday, Wood River met that challenge. The Wranglers cleaned up Boise in the first game, 6-4, with the win going to Christian Hovey. Hovey had five strikeouts and allowed six hits on two earned runs. Gifford got the save opportunity.
Brandon Benson put up four hits in the game with two RBIs. Gifford scored three runs in the game. Isaacson put in three hits. Cade Schott had two hits on the game including a double. Evan Hasselbacher scored a run and put up a double.
In the second game of the double-header, however, Wood River was tested the most. Wood River allowed the most runs of the year so far with an 11-9 victory. Wood River took an early lead, however, let Boise back in the game by allowing four runs in the sixth inning. Luckily, the Wranglers pulled out the victory with three runs scored in the seventh inning.
Tyler Price received the win going four strong innings striking out five batters. Hovey had to use four total pitchers including Price (Jens Blackman, Nelson Cantrell, Cam Benson) in the game to preserve the perfect record.
Cam Benson had four hits and two RBIs as the main offensive drive in the game. Brandon Benson, Tidwell, Hovey, Zach Nelson, Blackman and Jesse Vercelli all had a hit in the game.
“I wanted to get everyone some playing time,” Hovey said. “Everyone in the lineup contributed and it was a total team effort which was neat to see.”
Wood River takes down
Shelley in home opener
Cameron Benson and Adrian Rojas sparked a 12-hit attack as the Wood River American Legion baseball came away with a 15-3 victory over Shelley Thursday at Founders Field.
Benson (triple) and Rojas (double) each drove home three runs and had two hits apiece for unbeaten Wood River. Nic Tidwell also chipped in with two hits and the host Wranglers drew nine walks over the course of the game.
Originally due to be played as a nine-inning game between Area C “A” West Division (Wood River) and East Division (Shelley) squads, the 2014 Founders Field home debut was shortened to seven innings because of Wood River’s sizable lead.
Wood River had scored more than 10 runs, but the Wranglers committed five errors Thursday that led to all of the Shelley runs.
Three Wrangler pitchers combined for the victory. Starter Brandon Benson allowed only one hit in two innings, Cade Schott (4 K) did the same in two frames, and winning pitcher Christian Hovey threw three innings with four strikeouts and just one walk.
Wood River surged ahead with a six-run second and four-run third. Wranglers with one hit apiece were Lane Felger, Owen Gifford (2 runs), Brandon Benson, Zach Nelson, Finn Isaacson (2 SB) and Tyler Price. Schott drew two walks and scored twice for Wood River.
Up next for the Wranglers
Wood River hosts the Blackfoot Broncos today, June 25, for a 3 p.m. West Division doubleheader, this one back at Founders Field in Hailey.