It was a happy and sad day for the Wood River High School softball team on Monday when the Wolverines hosted the Minico Spartans for their home opener at the Hailey diamond.
The Wood River girls played with heavy hearts due to last week’s untimely death of Cole Hicks, the father of junior shortstop Ashley Hicks. He died of a brain hemorrhage while on a snowmobiling trip in the Sawtooth Valley north of Ketchum.
Ashley Hicks, a second-team Great Basin Conference shortstop last year as a sophomore, is Wood River’s leadoff hitter and a defensive stalwart with aspirations of playing college softball. Last year she batted .346, led the Wolverines in on-base percentage at .480 and runs scored with 29, and drew 21 free passes in 26 games.
Determined to keep playing despite the circumstances, Hicks was in the leadoff spot against Minico Monday.
She ripped a line drive out in her first at-bat, walked in her second trip, lifted a sacrifice fly in her third time, and led off the home fifth with a bunt single and scored Wood River’s 11th run in her fourth at-bat.
Wood River led 11-4 when Hicks came up with one out and two runners aboard in the sixth. On a 1-2 pitch, she absolutely crushed a rising shot that clanged off the scoreboard behind the fence in left field for a walk-off, three-run homer giving Wood River a 14-4 win.
Hicks (2 hits, 2 runs, 4 RBI) led the 13-hit Wood River attack that also featured a big game from promising freshman designated hitter Molly Whittington (3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBI) out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order. Whittington’s bases-loaded two-run single sparked Wood River’s bat-around five-run third for a 10-3 lead.
Other hits came from Ciceley Peavey (3 hits, 2 runs), second baseman Shelby Cooper (2 hits, 2 RBI), center fielder Lacy Harrington (2-run double), third baseman Cassidy Cooper (RBI single) and pitcher Blair Radford (bunt single, 2 runs).
Radford, also a freshman, won her first game in the Wood River varsity pitching circle scattering eight hits in a 96-pitch complete game. She walked three and whiffed six. Hicks and Cassidy Cooper helped out with outstanding defensive plays. Jillian Gilchrist’s three-run homer was Minico’s only real damage.
Between games of the league twinbill, the Minico team joined Wood River in a moment of silent remembering Cole Hicks. A memorial fund has been set up through youcaring.com.
And, in the second game, Wood River (16 hits) rallied from a 6-0 deficit and gave Radford her second pitching win of the day, in relief of starting pitcher Hicks and middle reliever Brittney Bradley. Eight errors hurt the Wolverines but they pulled it out in the end.
Hicks (4 hits, 4 runs) led the way again. Other hitters were Peavey (3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBI), Shelby Cooper (2 hits, double, 4 RBI), Chloe Evans (2 hits, 2 runs), Radford (2 hits, double) and Whittington (2 runs, 3 RBI).
After its Thursday home opener against Twin Falls was postponed and rescheduled to April 22, Wood River dropped an 8-4 and 11-0 doubleheader at Twin Falls on Saturday.
In Saturday’s opener, Wood River rallied from a 6-0 deficit with four runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Key hits came from Evans (2 hits, double) and Cassidy Cooper (2 RBI) plus a two-run home run by Radford.
Wood River (5-3, 3-2 league) played Canyon Ridge Tuesday at home and visits the Riverhawks for another GBC doubleheader today, Wednesday.
Coach Dale Martin’s team goes to the Kimberly tournament Friday and Saturday, April 11-12, playing Teton at 1 p.m. Friday and South Fremont of St. Anthony at 5 p.m.