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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Hansen keeps Hailey boys alive

Beats Buhl 7-5 with gutty performance

Statistically, Wood River righthander Steve Hansen has thrown better games—like his 10-0 masterpiece over Fruitland at last May’s State 3A tournament, and his 12-0 five-inning no-hitter over Sugar-Salem at the Preston baseball tournament May 1.

But Hansen (7-2, 15-3 two seasons) has probably never tossed a grittier game than Monday’s 7-5 complete-game victory over the upset-minded Buhl Tribe in a loser-out game of the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference tourney at Founders Field in Hailey.

Hansen, pitching to the meat of the plate, spotted Buhl a 5-1 lead in the second inning and then settled down and started hitting the corners.

Once he did, Wood River’s ace was in control—and Hansen also threw clutch pitches when needed, with men on base. He stranded four Tribe runners at third base in the final five frames. Because he did, Hansen held Buhl scoreless in the final five innings.

His never-say-die effort (128 pitches, 8 hits, 8 strikeouts, 3 walks) enabled defending State 3A champion Wood River to chip away and tie Buhl 5-5 in the fifth, and then win the critical game 7-5 by manufacturing two unearned runs in the sixth inning.

Hansen led off the sixth by reaching on an infield error. Leadoff batter Brady Femling bunted him to second and Hansen scampered to third on a wild pitch. A slow infield roller by Steve Durkin delivered Hansen with the go-ahead run, then another Buhl infield error brought Kellen Kinghorn (3 runs) home with insurance.

Tyler Thiede’s two-run double rallied Wood River from a 5-3 deficit into a 5-5 tie in the fifth. First baseman Thiede finished with two hits to lead Hailey’s seven-hit attack. Buhl (14-12) saw its season end with another close loss to Hailey. The Tribe fell to Wood River 5-2, 3-1 and 7-5 this spring.

Hansen’s effort let the Wolverines play another day.

The top-seeded Wolverines (22-4) traveled to Filer Tuesday to play in the SCIC championship game against the #2-seeded Filer Wildcats (21-4). Filer had beaten Wood River 8-4 Saturday in Hailey on Paul Gerrish’s complete-game eight-hitter at Founders Field.

Gerrish’s win Saturday was the biggest in Filer’s short and not-so-sweet baseball history.

Keep in mind that the Wildcats entered this season had a lowly 1-10 record over five years in SCIC tourney games, and had been outscored 114-54. In contrast, Wood River (a 137-71 scoring edge) was 14-2 with four SCIC titles in five years.

But Gerrish (123 pitches) tamed Wood River for the second time this season. Filer’s six-run third sparked by an RBI double by Josh Paxton (3 hits) gave the ‘Cats an 8-2 lead. Gerrish snuffed out two bases-loaded Wolverine threats in the sixth and seventh.

Dylan McIlhenny and Kellen Kinghorn each had two hits for Wood River (8 hits). The Wolverines lost in the SCIC tournament for the first time in eight games dating back to the 24-16 home title game loss to Buhl at Founders in 2001.

Friday, Steve Durkin’s grand-slam homer was one of 24 Hailey hits in a 25-1 tournament-opening victory over Kimberly (0-19). McIlhenny added three extra-base hits.

Another Filer win over Wood River Tuesday would have relegated the Wolverines to an intra-district play-in game Saturday, May 15.

But, if Wood River beat Filer’s Gerrish Tuesday, the Wolverines would have earned back the home field advantage for today’s 5 p.m. if-necessary SCIC game at Founders Field.

The SCIC champ opens the State 3A tourney against the Sixth District champ (South Fremont, Sugar-Salem) Thursday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at Treasure Valley CC, Ontario, Ore. By winning Saturday’s play-in game, the SCIC runner-up would open state action next Thursday at 8 p.m. against the Third District (Boise) champ.


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