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For the week of May 2 through May 8, 2001

Wood River beats Buhl 7-6 in back-and-forth beauty

Fourth consecutive league title for Wolverine baseball team

Like everyone expected, Tuesday's Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference league championship game between Wood River and Buhl went down to the final pitch at Hailey's Founders Field--and it was a happy result for coach Lars Hovey's Wolverines.

Trailing 2-0 in the third inning and 6-4 in the sixth, Wood River rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth and blanked Buhl in its final at-bats to beat the Tribe 7-6 and claim the league championship for the fourth consecutive year. In fact, in the 10 years the league has been playing baseball, Hovey's Wolverines have now won the league title seven times.

Third baseman Jake Upham (2 hits, 3 RBI) gave the Wolverines the go-ahead runs with a one-out, two-run single in the sixth. Setting the table for Upham's heroics were one-out walks drawn by the #8 and #9 hitters, Joe Molyneux and Kellen Chatterton, followed by an opposite-field RBI double by leadoff hitter Max Paisley (2 hits, 2 runs). That brought Upham to the plate, and he ripped the first offering from Buhl relief pitcher Jeff Walker up the middle to bring Paisley home with the seventh and eventual winning run. In Buhl's final at-bats, Wood River relief pitcher Riley Nash came out and did the job, firing strikes. 

Nash (4-4), beaten by Buhl 9-2 in his last appearance Thursday at Buhl, allowed a leadoff double by Tribe catcher Cody Chandler. Then Nash enticed a ground ball to Upham at third and secured a huge strikeout for the second out--getting Cody Owen looking with a called third strike on the inside corner. Nash speared a wicked line drive up the middle by Rob Walker and prevented a sure run, but the senior couldn't hold on to the liner and Walker ended up at first base. With the tying run at third and two outs, Nash got the final out--a pop-up on a 3-2 pitch.

Wood River couldn't make any headway against Buhl ace Seth Mathews until the fourth, when Molyneux plated Nic Nottingham (2 hits) and Ryne Reynoso with a hard, two-run double to the right center field gap. Buhl added a single run in the fifth to lead 3-2. Once again, Wood River had an answer. In the home fifth, Paisley led off and quickly got behind on the count, 0-2. He fouled off a pitch. Then Mathews grooved a pitch and Paisley hammered it to the fence in right field for a triple. Upham brought Paisley home for a 3-3 game with a bouncing ball. Cory Goicoechea pounded a long triple to the center field fence and scored when Nottingham ripped another 0-2 offering from Matthews for an RBI single. 

Buhl coach Gary Krumm yanked Mathews from the game and brought in his shortstop, Jeff Walker. Walker put out the fire. In the visitor sixth, Buhl tacked on three more runs for a 6-4 lead, Walker's two-out, two-run triple the big blow. Things looked bad for Wood River, with the bottom of its order coming up in the bottom of sixth. But Walker walked Molyneux and Chatterton, followed by Paisley and Upham's huge hits, and the Wolverines captured yet another league title. 

Wood River outhit Buhl 9-6 and gave the Tribe three unearned runs. Starting pitcher Jeff Bolton (5-0) struggled with his control and threw 101 pitches in five-plus innings, but Bolton allowed only three hits and kept his team in the game by getting big outs. Buhl stranded nine runners.

The victory meant Wood River earned the top seed in the four-team SCIC tournament starting Friday, May 3. The Wolverines will host #4-seeded Filer Friday at 5 p.m. at Founders Field, with #2-seeded Buhl hosting #3-seeded Kimberly Friday at the same time. If Wood River and Buhl win their tournament games Friday, they'll be back at Founders Field Saturday, May 5 at 11 a.m. for another big SCIC contest.

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