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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of July 24 - 30, 2002


Hailey’s midsummer classic

WR West (5-2) third at Nelson

They weren’t playing for money or endorsement revenue and they certainly weren’t playing for any doggone tie games Friday and Saturday at the 31st annual Ray Nelson Little League tournament in Hailey.

Shane Carden, WR 9-10 pitcher, hurls a hard one against Meridian. Express photo by Willy Cook

It was pure baseball for 22 fine teams in the beautiful mountains of Idaho. The two-day tournament was held in memory of Raymond Nelson, a longtime Hailey baseball supporter who passed away in 1970.

They packed in 46 games over two days of Little League action on five Hailey diamonds. And when the dust settled, Twin Falls claimed the championships of both the 11-12 year old "Major League" division and the 9-10 year old "Minor League."

One of Idaho’s best, the Twin Falls Nationals went 5-0 including a dramatic 6-5 victory over a stubborn Mini-Cassia nine in Saturday’s 11-12 championship game. And the Twin Falls Pioneers won the 9-10 class.

Fighting their way to the bronze medal in the "Majors," were players on Wood River West, who played four tough games Saturday and finished an eyelash away from the championship game with a 5-2 mark.

WR East 11-12 year old pitcher Hayden Waller takes aim during the Nelson tourney. Express photo by Willy Cook

Coach Ken Uhrig was very proud of his Westies, especially for their 7-6 extra-inning triumph over another one of Idaho’s best Little League teams—Meridian—in a loser-out game.

Indeed, with a little luck Wood River would have faced Twin Falls in the title contest. But they fell 2-1 to Mini-Cassia in the semi-final despite some excellent pitching by Austin Carden and Patrick Patterson.

The Twin Falls Nationals squandered a 4-0 lead and fell behind to Mini-Cassia 5-4 in the fifth when Cody Winmill pounded a go-ahead two-run M-C homer. Twin Falls then scored an unearned run for a 5-5 tie.

In the home sixth, #9 hitter Jace Thatcher worked a walk for the Nationals, leadoff batter Kevin Victor doubled and Rem Pullin ripped the game-winning single for Twin Falls.

Other players on the champion Nationals were Riley Traveller, Bryant Ward, Kasey Jeroue, Judd Olmstead, Conner Watkins, Chase Braga, Nate Harmon, Lane Reeves, Braden Osborne and Nick Yergersen.

Mini-Cassia, a 5-2 loser to Twin Falls earlier Saturday, finished its stay in Hailey with a 4-2 record. Rupert (3-2) won the consolation bracket with a 5-0 victory over Weiser (3-3).

The other local team in the 14-team "Majors," was Wood River East. The Easties started off with a win over Salmon then dropped games to Mini-Cassia, Buhl and Weiser.


WR West wins five

After winning their opener 11-2 over Twin Falls Americans Friday, WR West suffered a tough 4-3 loss to Nampa. The Westies, out-hitting Nampa 5-3, rallied from a 4-1 deficit but couldn’t get over the hump.

WR West started the long road back with an 11-1 triumph over Weiser, behind the pitching of Robin Morgus and Eric Jacobson. The Hailey squad out-hit Weiser 13-5 led by Chase Uhrig (4 hits, double) and Trent Seamons (3 hits, 2 doubles).

Patterson and Carden pitched the Westies (17 hits) past Buhl 15-0. Danny Kramer’s two-run homer capped a nine-run Wood River second, then Kramer added a two-run double in West’s six-run third. Other top hitters in that game were Morgus (4 hits, 3 runs), Carden (3 hits) and Patterson (2 hits, triple, 2 runs).

The Wood River-Meridian went down to the white-knuckle wire.

Actually, the Westies (10 hits) hit well and built a 6-1 lead. Meridian stormed back for a 6-6 tie with a three-run sixth. In the seventh, Meridian stranded the go-ahead run at second. WR West came up and Uhrig reached base with his third straight hit. He scored the winner on Patterson’s double—his third straight hit.

Having lost by a single run to Nampa Friday, the Westies gained revenge with a 17-hit, 13-6 win over Nampa. Trailing 5-3, WR West exploded with a seven-run fourth. Austin Carden belted a three-run homer.

Leading West hitters against Nampa were Jesse Thiede (3 hits, double), Morgus (3 hits, 2 runs), Jacobson (2 hits, 2 runs), Carden (2 hits, 3 runs), Patterson (2 hits) and Collin Hand (2 hits).

Other players on the third-place WR West team sponsored by Uhrig Fencing, Hailey Nursery, High Desert Sports and Power Engineers were Jason Barbee, Bud Leopold, Ricky Maxwell and Kyle Rose.

Meanwhile, coach Greg Abbott’s highly-successful Wood River All-Star just couldn’t get it going in the eight-team "Minors." They entered last weekend’s tournament on a 16-game win streak including four out-of-town tournament championships.

Wood River (21-6 season) started off with a 15-7 victory over eventual "Minors" runner-up Boise Cal Ripken, then the local 9-10 year olds lost 10-5 to Meridian and 11-5 to Rupert. Meridian and Rupert finished with 2-2 records. Boise Cal Ripken went 4-2.

Top Hailey hitters included Kenny Ballou, Keven Abbott, Gregory Wakefield, Juan Martinez, Tanner Orchard, Jimmy Hague and Zak Sjoberg.

Nobody in the lower age bracket had a solution for the Twin Falls Pioneers (4-0), who won their final three games by a 47-2 score including a 19-2 triumph over Boise Cal Ripken in Saturday’s 9-10 championship.


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.