Wood River and Kimberly prep baseball players were fully aware they were playing each other Tuesday at Hailey’s Founders Field on “Jackie Robinson Day” marking the 67th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier.
One player, Wood River junior catcher Cameron Benson, even tried to steal home with a tip of his hat in tribute to Robinson. The ploy didn’t work, but it was certainly worth a try to honor the daredevil feats of the major league’s first black player.
Yet the 24-hit attack of Wood River took precedence over base stealing during a 12-2 and 11-3 doubleheader sweep over Kimberly. The victories stretched Wood River’s winning streak to three. The young Hailey team is 5-1 in its last six games after a 3-6 start.
Benson was a Wolverine star with a 4-for-4 presence at the plate in the 12-2 run-rule victory over six innings of the first game at Hailey’s Founders Field. Back-to-back one-out triples by senior Finn Isaacson (3 hits, 4 runs, 2 RBI) and Benson in the four-run third made the score 6-1.
Catching a stiff breeze, Benson banged his triple on the fly off the McDonald’s banner in right field, a long shot. Leadoff hitter Owen Gifford (3 hits, 2 runs) and Nic Tidwell (3 hits, 2 runs), both freshmen, fueled the 16-hit attack and soph Reide Whitehead belted a three-run double in the sixth.
Sophomore Tyler Price (77 pitches, 0 earned runs, 5 BB, 5 K) earned his second victory without a loss and soph Dylan Broman threw an inning of hitless relief. Price surrendered only one hit in his five frames, a clean single to left by clean-up hitter Sam Krapf.
Another sophomore, Adrian Rojas, sparked Wood River’s game-ending five-run rally in the first game with a single—and Rojas did his thing again in the second game.
With the game tied 3-3 in the home fourth, leadoff hitter Rojas was hit by a pitch. Wood River went on to bat around and score five runs including a big two-run single by Isaacson (5 RBI, 6-for-8 in the twinbill).
The Wolverines (8 hits) took advantage of seven walks and two hit-batsmen to score in five of their six at-bats during the 11-3 nightcap. Gifford (2 hits, 2 runs) and Tidwell (3 runs) were productive again out of the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.
Whitehead, the catcher, drew three free passes then clouted an RBI triple.
Benson picked up his first pitching win with three innings of middle relief, allowing no runs and whiffing four. Broman started on the hill. Isaacson (4 K) mopped up with two innings of relief.
With the win, Wood River’s baseball team (8-7, 4-3 home, 3-6 league, 95-78 runs against) surged over the .500 mark this late in the season for the first time in nine years. Back in 2005, during program founder Lars Hovey’s 14th and final season at the helm, Wood River finished 20-9 (10-0 home).
Wood River entertains the Jerome Tigers today, Friday, April 18 for a 4:30 p.m. single game. The Wolverines go to Jerome for two GBC games at 12 noon Saturday. Jerome (8-8, 4-5) most recently played and lost 3-1, 1-0 and 1-0 games to league-leading Twin Falls.