The Wood River Wranglers needed a boost going into the final week of their American Legion Area C “A” regular baseball season—and they got it Wednesday with a 7-5 extra-inning league victory over Bear Lake in eastern Idaho.
Cameron Benson and Nick Brunker each scored in the visitor eighth inning, and righthanded closer Finn Isaacson shut down the Bears in the home half as Wood River snapped a five-game losing skid and kept their district tournament hopes alive.
Benson (3 hits, double, RBI) enjoyed a big game at the plate and also on the hill, throwing six innings as the Wrangler starter while allowing five earned runs with nine strikeouts. Isaacson (3 K) relieved Benson and held Bear Lake scoreless in the final two frames to level his record at 3-3.
Brunker (3-for-4, 2 doubles, RBI) also produced at the dish giving the Wranglers their fifth West Division league win.
In Wednesday’s opening game, Bear Lake won 7-4 despite a strong five-and-two-thirds pitching performance by righty Alec Nordsieck (3 earned runs, 3 K). Nordsieck and Cam Benson each delivered two hits and drove home a run in the Wrangler cause.
After absorbing two lopsided home losses to the Madison Cats Monday in Hailey, coach Trent Seamons’ Wranglers performed well in a two-day, four-game road trip to eastern Idaho on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Wood River (10-13, 5-7 West Division) played one of the best Area C teams to a standoff but dropped both division games to the Pocatello Razorbacks (23-6, 8-4 West Division) by scores of 4-3 and 12-11.
“We battled hard,” said Seamons, whose team had lost 10-1 to the Razorbacks during the Nampa Wood Bat tournament June 15. The Razorbacks, who swept Bear Lake 13-3 and 7-6 recently, are a tournament-tested group going 10-1 in two tourneys this summer with a first place at Nampa and third place in the June 27-30 Idaho Sporting Goods meet in Boise.
But Wood River stayed with Pocatello every step of the way.
Isaacson (6 innings, 3 earned runs, 4 K) kept the Wranglers close in the 4-3 opening-game loss. Brunker (2-3) and reliever Bryce John (1-plus innings, 1 earned run, 3 K) did the mound work in the 12-11 setback.
Wrangler hitters were productive in the Pokey twinbill: Brandon Benson 5-for-7; Isaacson 5-for-8, RBI double; Brunkier 5-for-8 with 5 RBI; Gunner Gibson 3 hits and 3 RBI; Nordsieck an RBI triple; and Cam Benson 4-for-7, RBI, 4 runs.
The Wranglers (3-3 home) have eight games next week, six of them at Founders Field.
Wood River hosts the reigning Area C and State Legion champion Burley Green Sox on Monday, July 15 for a 3 p.m. West Division doubleheader, then entertains another Madison squad from Rexburg on Tuesday for a 1 p.m. non-divisional doubleheader.
It’s off to the Twin Falls Hawks for a divisional twinbill Friday, July 19, then Shelley invades Founders Field for the home finale Saturday, July 20. The 12-team Area C “A” tourney starts Thursday, July 25 at Halliwell Park in Pocatello.