Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Legion (22-2) third in Firecracker baseball

Tough league games this week for Wranglers

Express Staff Writer

The Wood River American Le-gion baseball team poses here during the Donnelley Sports Firecracker Invitational in Boise on Sunday. The Wranglers placed third of 18 teams.
Courtesy photo

     In sweltering heat that climbed above 100 degrees over the holiday weekend, the Wood River American Legion baseball team won four of its six games and placed third in the Donnelley Sports Firecracker Invitational tournament July 3-6 at several Boise fields.

     Wood River (22-2) saw its 21-game winning streak come to an end Friday, after the Wranglers won their first three games of the 18-team tournament. The Wranglers actually dropped two games Saturday, 4-1 to Boise Seminoles and 4-3 to Mountain Home Royals.

     But Wood River (15-2 on the road) bounced back Sunday with a 10-7 extra-inning triumph over Rocky Mountain Avalanche. Brandon Benson’s two-out, three-run double in the visitor eighth lifted Wood River to the victory.

     For six games, Wood River outhit its opponents 40-20 and earned the third-place plaque.

     Winning Sunday’s championship game of the wood-bat tournament were the unbeaten Pocatello Razorbacks (34-0) by a 5-4 score over Richland (Wash.) Knights.

     Pocatello went 6-0 with a 37-13 runs-against featuring 6-1, 7-2, 4-2, 7-1 and 8-3 wins over the Mountain Home Royals, Boise Gems, Boise Seminoles, Centennial Cannons and Boise Capitals before the final.

     The Razorbacks are the reigning Area C “A” tournament champions and were last year’s State “A” tournament second-place team.

     The Wranglers hosted the Razorbacks for an Area C “A” doubleheader Tuesday at Founders Field. It was the first of challenging back-to-back West Division doubleheaders for Wood River, who travel to Burley Green Sox Thursday.

     Lars Hovey, Wood River’s coach, said the upcoming league games over the next two weeks will give the Wranglers a chance to “see how we stack up” in our division.

     He said, “There are still a lot of questions to be answered.
But the Boise tournament gave us a chance to learn better where we stood statewide.”

     At the Firecracker tournament, Wood River opened Thursday with 6-2 and 10-2 wins over the Mountain View Toros and Meridian Rangers, at Centennial High School.

     Winning pitchers in those games were Christian Hovey (4-0) and Owen Gifford (2-0).

     Against the Toros, Mikey Levy had three hits and Jens Blackman added two. Wood River’s six-run sixth broke open a 4-2 game against the Rangers. Hitters included Cade Schott (2 hits, 2 RBI), Adrian Rojas (2-run double) and Brandon Benson (double, 2 runs).

     On Friday at Capital High, Wood River (12 hits) run-ruled the Boise Gems 14-4 in six innings. Schott (2-0) earned the pitching win, in relief of Tyler Price, and Brandon Benson (4 hits, 4 runs) stayed red hot. Others as the Wranglers scored in five of six at-bats were Dylan Broman (2 RBI), Rojas (2 hits, 2 RBI), Levy (2 hits, 3 RBI) and Nic Tidwell (3 runs).

     In Sunday’s third-place game, Wood River led 5-1 with a four-run third, but Rocky Mountain chipped away and tied it 7-7 with two runs in the home seventh. Brandon Benson’s decisive three-run double was ripped down the third base line, Hovey said.

     The clutch hit made a winner of his brother Cam Benson (4-0), who relieved starting pitcher Christian Hovey. Cam Benson (4 hits, 3 RBI), Gifford (3 runs) and Zach Nelson (2 runs) chipped in. Gifford closed the win with an inning of mound work in the eighth.

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