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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 8 - 14, 2002


Engel throws shutout, Hailey blanks Buhl 11-0

Wolverine softball wins league title

When you’ve got solid pitching and defense, reliable hitting and lots of senior leadership, it’s vital to buckle down and win those important league games on the road.

The Wood River High School softball team recognized the challenge and answered it Saturday—winning 11-0 at Buhl on a six-hit shutout by senior Amanda Engel.

Engel (7-3), who allowed just one run and 10 hits in 16 innings of outstanding clutch pitching last week, gave Wood River its first-ever Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference regular-season league title.

Coach Chris Cey’s Wolverines played errorless defense in their biggest game of 2002 and belted 10 hits. They blew open a close 1-0 game with a six-run fifth and run-ruled the sloppy Tribe (7 errors).

Wood River (17-6, 7-1 league) thus earned the top seed and home field advantage in the upcoming SCIC tournament.

And just how important was Saturday’s victory?

If Buhl had won and created a three-way tie for first place with the Wolverines and reigning league champ Kimberly, Wood River would have dropped all the way to third place and lost the home field edge because of the pre-ordained coin flip.

"We wanted to play at home," said Cey, whose Wolverines are 47-23 at home the past six seasons.

They’ll do it starting Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. as the five-team SCIC meet opens on the Hailey softball diamond.

Although Wood River has dominated the league this spring, going 14-1 in all its SCIC games and outscoring league foes 191-53, a surprising 1-0 loss to Kimberly last Tuesday set up the do-or-die scenario.

Actually, the great pitching of Kimberly junior Kayla Lundy wasn’t a surprise at all in the splendid pitcher’s duel at South Valley Sports Complex in Hailey. Last spring’s 3A "Player of the Year" in the Magic Valley, righty Lundy led Kimberly to its first SCIC title.

Both Lundy (73 pitches) and Engel (71 pitches) were absolutely great in an efficient 71-minute masterpiece of a fast-pitch battle. Kimberly thus ended Wood River’s eight-game winning streak.

Lundy (7 assists) stranded seven Wolverines and gloved a bunch of grounders up the middle. She ended with a six-hitter, escaping a no-out, second-and-third threat in the fourth with two whiffs and a grounder.

Engel was even better, tossing a three-hitter. She allowed a leadoff single by Whitney Bollwinkle, who stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored the only run of the game on a grounder by Lundy.

Wood River’s defense was bulletproof again, as senior shortstop Laurel Williams (7 assists, 3 putouts) figured in virtually half the outs and turned a big double play in the sixth.

Outfielder Mollie Meyers made a fine running grab and senior first sacker Ashley Nilsen had 14 putouts.

The second "Senior Night" game against Kimberly was a 14-1 success story, junior Aubrey Kirtley (8-2) collecting the win in relief of Engel. The Wolverines managed only seven hits but Kimberly committed six errors and issued 10 free passes.

Second baseman B.J. Adams (3 runs, 3 RBI), Williams (4-for-6 for the twinbill) and Kristin Lyons (2 hits, 2 runs) led the attack in the non-league game against Kimberly.

In Saturday’s opener at Buhl, Williams (2 runs) reached on a Tribe error and scored the first run in the fourth. The decisive six-run fifth included RBI singles by Adams and Joni Chatterton (2 hits, 2 runs each), a two-run hit by Kirtley and RBI single by Engel (2 hits including a triple).

Wood River swept its sixth doubleheader of the season in the nightcap by an 8-4 score.

A leadoff single by Adams (2 hits, 2 runs), an RBI hit by winning pitcher Kirtley (3 hits, 3 runs, 4 RBI) and run-scoring grounders by Ashley Washburn and Aspen Wenglikowski (2 hits) sparked Wood River to a four-run first inning.

Megan Lyons added an RBI single and Nilsen scored two runs for the winners, who out-hit Buhl 12-6.


·  WOLVERINE NOTES—Wood River’s batters were averaging .377 as a team entering the Buhl twinbill, according to ace scorekeeper Gariety Pruitt….Wood River is 10-3 on the road, two of those in the season-opening twinbill at Twin Falls. The Wolverines last fell on the road April 9 in the second game of a doubleheader at Jerome….

The league hasn’t had a back-to-back tournament winner since Buhl in 1996-97….The last four SCIC tourney winners: Wood River in 1998, Filer in 1999, Buhl in 2000 and Kimberly in 2001.…

Wood River’s defense will set school records. The team has scored 255 runs in 23 games (11.1 per game) and allowed only 104 (4.5). In the last nine games the defense is yielding 2.3…Last year, in 27 games (4-10 on the road) it was 232 runs scored (8.6) and 277 against (10.3)….The single-season offensive record of 312 runs (10.8) was set in the 15-14 campaign of 1998.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.