Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Legion adds to success 11-1, 10-0 over Cowboys

Boise holiday tournament next

Express Staff Writer

     The Wood River American Legion baseball team continues to get a team effort up and down the line-up, as the Wranglers showed in their 11-1 and 10-0 doubleheader sweep over the Twin Falls Cowboys Monday at Founders Field.

     Wood River, outhitting Twin Falls 17-7 over 10 innings of play on a beautiful summer day in Hailey, stayed unbeaten for the season with a pair of complete-game pitching efforts by righthanders Finn Isaacson (4-0) and Nic Tidwell (3-0).

     Coach Lars Hovey’s Wranglers (18-0, 7-0 home, 10-0 Area C “A” West Division) improved their runs-against season total to 213-66 (11.0-3.7) with the kind of everybody-gets-into-the-act attack that wears down a young opponent like Twin Falls.

     In the swiftly-played, 76-minute opener, seven of the nine Wranglers contributed hits to the 11-1 five-inning victory and seven of the nine batters also drove home runs. Wood River scored in four of five innings and just kept building its lead throughout.

     Ace Finn Isaacson needed 78 pitches to mow down the ‘Pokes. He allowed no earned runs in his four-hitter, walked two, plunked two and struck out two. His defense helped out with two infield double plays—and three ‘Pokes were gunned down on the basepaths.

     The second game was different, as Wood River clung to a 2-0 lead behind Tidwell’s pitching until the Wranglers broke it open with an eight-run fifth. Tidwell’s second shutout of the season was a three-hitter. He walked two and whiffed two.

     Yet the Wrangler system of scoring was pretty much the same. Six of the nine starters contributed hits, and seven of the nine batters scored runs.

     Brandon Benson, the No. 2 hitter and Wrangler third baseman, set the tone with a long two-run homer that caught a breeze in the first inning and immediately put the Wranglers ahead 2-0 in the first game. Benson went 2-for-2 with 3 runs scored in that one, then had 3 RBI with a big triple in Game 2.

     Catcher Cameron Benson ended the first game on the run-rule with a two-out, two-run double—his second hit of the game and third RBI. Along with leadoff hitter Owen Gifford (4 runs, 2 RBI), the Benson brothers and Gifford went 5-for-8 with 8 runs and 7 RBI.

     Right fielder Christian Hovey (2 runs) doubled and scored in the opener, while Dylan Broman and Tidwell added run-scoring hits. Shortstop Cade Schott doubled and scored sparking the four-run fifth. Casey Hoggarth of the Cowboys (2 hits) and Brandon Cook (RBI) plated the only run.

     In the nightcap, Isaacson (2 runs) belted an RBI triple, Broman (double) added two hits, Tyler Price ripped two hits with two RBI, and Nelson Cantrell (2 runs) pitched in. Wood River drew six walks and had eight hits, so the Wranglers reached base 14 times.

     The Wranglers will get a better idea of their pitching depth when they travel to the 18-team Boise Firecracker Invitational tourney for six games over four days Thursday through Sunday, July 3-6 on three different fields.

     Wood River opens Thursday with back-to-back games at Centennial High School against the Mountain View Toros at 11:45 a.m. and the Meridian Rangers at 2:30 p.m.

     Only one game is planned for Independence Day, July 4, when Wood River meets the Boise Gems at 11:45 a.m. at Capital High School’s field.

     The action moves to Borah High School on Saturday, July 5 with the Wranglers playing Boise Seminoles at 11:45 a.m. and then waiting for a 5:15 p.m. clash against the Mountain Home Royals, also at Borah.

     Results of the five preliminary games will determine which placement game Wood River plays on Sunday.

     The tournament will position Wood River better for its tougher stretch of Area C “A” West Division games coming up after the holiday—starting with the visit of the reigning district champion Pocatello Razorbacks on Tuesday, July 8 for a 3 p.m. doubleheader on the Founders Field diamond.

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