It took longer than coach Matt Nelson and his Wood River High School Wolverines had planned, but their first prep baseball win of the season Tuesday was a solid team effort and very satisfying for the home team at Founders Field.
Senior righthanded pitcher Nickolaus Brunker (4 earned runs, 6 hits) gave Wood River a strong six-inning, 99-pitch effort on the hill and freshman closer Nic Tidwell escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to beat the Buhl Tribe 7-5.
Brunker (3 RBI) also led the way at the plate with three hits and the decisive two-run double that capped a four-run Wood River uprising for a 7-3 lead in the fourth inning on the Hailey diamond.
His left-handed catcher, senior Tim Boyle, added two hits including a one-out opposite-field double igniting Wood River’s two-run rally in the third that erased an early 3-1 Buhl lead. Wood River finished the game out-hitting Buhl 11-7.
The two-hour non-league game featured the first-ever varsity hit for freshman outfielder Nelson Cantrell. He followed shortstop Alec Nordsieck’s one-out, fourth-inning single with a line drive single of his own—sparking a series of five straight Wolverines hits capped by Brunker’s double.
Wood River also played solid defense and turned two double plays. The first was a comebacker that pitcher Brunker caught and threw to Nordsieck at second for the first of two outs in the second inning. The second was a sacrifice bunt attempt that Brunker snagged in the air and threw to second for the fifth-inning twin killing.
One more Buhl threat went by the boards in the sixth when sophomore left fielder Will Long gunned down a Tribe runner at second base, Tidwell applying the tag for a big out.
Third baseman Ben Williams piled up four assists and started a nice Wolverine rundown for a key out in Buhl’s two-run first. Righty Tidwell showed composure by whiffing a Tribe hitter on a full count with the bases loaded in the seventh, and then enticing a fly ball to Long for the final out.
Junior center fielder Finn Isaacson and senior first baseman Zack Freeman each added RBI singles to the team effort. Senior Dylan Simpson tallied two runs as a pinch runner.
Buhl’s 3-4-5 batters Ian Compton, Hunter Crown and Joel Hamilton did their job at the dish with 7 hits in 10 at-bats. Starting and losing pitcher Compton was very efficient on the mound with 78 pitches in six frames, allowing 7 runs on 11 hits with 4 whiffs.
Wood River hosts the Minico Spartans for a “Senior Day” Great Basin Conference doubleheader today, Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Founders Field. The GBC league tournament begins Tuesday, April 30, Wood River traveling for its first game to defending champ Twin Falls.