Friday, June 27, 2014

Wood River fights off scare from Blackfoot for sweep

American Legion wins close games, goes to 16-0


By JON MENTZER

     The Wood River American Legion baseball team is finding new ways of winning as it swept the Blackfoot Broncos, 6-5 and 12-10, on Wednesday night at Founders Field in Hailey.

     Pitcher Finn Isaacson threw a game one gem, going six strong innings with eight strikeouts while allowing just two earned runs as Blackfoot put the Wood River Wranglers to the test. However, the Broncos found out by the end of the day just how resilient these Hailey boys truly are.

     The Wranglers were in rare form in game one. Down 3-1 and going into the bottom of the 5th inning, Wood River’s top of the order prevailed just when it counted most by putting up a five-run inning.

     Owen Gifford (3-for-4) got on base with a single, and then was driven home by a Brandon Benson triple. Benson was the hot bat for the day going 4-for-4 at the plate while scoring a run.

     Cam Benson then drove in his brother with a double to tie the game up. Isaacson (3-for-3) then had an RBI single as he drove in Cam Benson. With Isaacson on base, Nic Tidwell hit a single of his own to put two runners on base. Cade Schott cleared the bases with a two-run RBI double to cap off the inning.

     “The top of the order has been solid all year,” said head coach Lars Hovey. “We’ve been showing a lot of resiliency lately. We’ve shown that (we can make a comeback).”

     Wood River’s resiliency came out against Boise and shined on Wednesday against Blackfoot.

     Part of Wood River’s early success is due to their deep pitching staff. Isaacson was pulled on Monday’s game against Bear Lake to preserve the ace’s arm. The move by Hovey paid off as Isaacson proved that a few days of early rest can go a long way. Isaacson allowed five hits and only three walks on his way to the win. Isaacson is 3-0 for the season with 14 strikeouts.

     “We’re deep enough in the pitching that we could take (Finn) out and give him some rest,” Hovey said. “(We) took a chance and it ended up working out.”

     Cam Benson also had a good day at both the plate and the mound. Benson recorded the save while striking out three. He also had an RBI and a run scored at the plate. Dylan Broman scored a run while going 1-for-3.

     In game two, the Wranglers jumped on Blackfoot early by scoring eight runs in the first two innings of play. Then Wood River got a little too comfortable and squandered the lead and let Blackfoot back in the game as the Broncos put together a rally by putting up four runs in the 4th inning and another three runs in the 5th inning.

     Schott got the start on the day and struggled at times as he threw a lot of pitches early in the game. He went four innings, gave up six hits and five earned runs while striking out three. He also allowed four walks.

     Cam Benson came on in relief and got the win, finishing the day with a save and a win in the two games. Brandon Benson went 2-for-2 with three runs scored.

     Coming off a stellar performance on the mound in game one, Isaacson had two runs scored while going 2-for-4 at the plate in game two. Both Tidwell and Nelson Cantrell had a run scored.

    

Wranglers sweep Kimberly behind Hovey, Gifford

     Christian Hovey struck out seven batters and allowed only two earned runs as the Wood River Wranglers beat Kimberly, 8-6 in game one. Hovey is now 3-0 on the season.

     Wood River went on to win game two, 11-1.

     In game one, Owen Gifford went 2-for-2 and scored two RBIs and two runs scored as he led the Wranglers in batting. Gifford had a great all-around game as he had two stolen bases and came on in relief on the mound as well.

     Gifford continued his all-around dominance by getting the win in game two while pitching a complete game.

     Cam Benson added some power for the Wranglers by hitting a home run and going 3-for-3 and two RBIs. Benson also added a double for good measure.

     It wasn’t much of a contest as Wood River totaled 10 hits and only allowed Kimberly to four hits.

     Evan Hasselbacher, Hovey, Tidwell and Isaacson all had hits on the day. Cantrell added two hits of his own.

     Wood River gets some rest over the weekend as it resumes play again at home against the visiting Twin Falls Cowboys on Monday, June 30 at Founders Field in Hailey.

     “This is a much needed break,” Hovey said. “They can get healed up and clear their minds and come back fresh.”




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