Wednesday, July 30, 2014

14-0, 7-2 wins send Legion to State A tourney

Wranglers (29-7) place second at district meet


By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer

Photo by Willy Cook

     A resolute band of Wood River American Legion Wranglers has shrugged off recent history and carved out some history of its own on the baseball diamond this summer.

     Coach Lars Hovey’s Wranglers posted the 40-year-old program’s first winning season in five years and qualified for the Area C “A” district tourney for the first time since 2010.

     Not only that, but Wood River has now earned a berth in the Idaho American Legion State “A” tournament for the first time in seven seasons.

     Wood River (29-7, 18-3 away) won two of its three games at last weekend’s 12-team Area C tournament in Twin Falls and placed second—equaling the highest-ever Wood River finish at the district tournament.

     The Wranglers, having started the summer with a 21-game winning streak, opened the three-day tournament with 14-0 and 7-2 victories over the Rigby Trojans and Hillcrest Knights from Idaho Falls.

     Those two wins earned Wood River an automatic berth in the eight-team State “A” tourney starting Thursday, July 31 at Nampa’s Rodeo Park.

     Last Saturday, the defending district champion and last year’s State “A” runner-up Pocatello Razorbacks blanked Wood River 5-0 in the championship game at Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls.

     Hovey said, “The district tournament went about as well as could be expected. Our main goal was to get to the state tournament, which we did. The district title would have just been icing on the cake.”

     Outstanding pitching performances by staff ace Finn Isaacson (7-1) and first-year lefthander Christian Hovey (5-0) formed the foundation of Wood River’s two victories.

     Against Rigby, Isaacson (5 innings, 0 BB, 4 K) tossed one of only two shutouts in the 20-game tournament, yielding only three hits in five frames. His defense didn’t commit an error, and the Wranglers outhit the Trojans 13-3 led by Cade Schott (3 hits, double).

     Other top Wrangler hitters were Isaacson (2 hits, double, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Brandon Benson (2 hits, triple, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Christian Hovey (2 hits, double, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Owen Gifford (2 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBI) and Dylan Broman (2 runs).

     The victory moved Wood River into Friday’s all-important semi-final game against the top team out of the East Division, the Hillcrest Knights from Idaho Falls. Hillcrest boasted an 18-2 divisional record this summer, ranking up with the Razorbacks (17-1).

     Coach Hovey started his freshman son, Christian Hovey. The southpaw responded with aplomb. He scattered eight hits in four innings of work, walked only one, whiffed three and allowed one earned run.

     With state in sight and nursing a 4-2 lead, coach Hovey summoned Isaacson in relief in the fifth. Isaacson held Hillcrest scoreless in three innings. He permitted three hits, walked none and whiffed three.

     Gifford belted a two-run triple in Wood River’s three-run sixth to provide Isaacson with some breathing room. Although Hillcrest out-hit Wood River 11-7, the Wranglers got the hits when they counted.

     Ripping doubles were Brandon Benson (2 hits), Isaacson, Schott and Adrian Rojas.

     Coach Hovey said about his pitching rotation for the pivotal opening two tournament games, “Finn handled Rigby without a problem and the pitch count was low enough to where we could use him the next day.

     “Christian Hovey did a great job of holding a good Idaho Falls Knights team down for four innings in the semi-finals. At that point we went for broke and brought Finn in to punch our ticket to state.”

     Saturday’s championship game was played mostly for state seeding and bragging rights. Wood River had snapped Pocatello’s 35-game winning streak with a stunning 11-1 home win behind Isaacson’s pitching July 8 at Hailey’s Founders Field.

     This time, it was Pocatello’s turn to shine behind the complete-game pitching of Braedon Boyers, who allowed four hits. The Razorbacks repeated as district champions 5-0, finishing a lopsided 42-7 stroll through three district wins.

     Losing pitcher was Nic Tidwell (3-3), who allowed only six hits and two earned runs in four innings of work. Getting Wrangler hits were Gifford, Brandon Benson, Isaacson and Nelson Cantrell. Wood River committed three errors and gave up three unearned runs.

     Coach Hovey said, “Although Nic Tidwell threw a great game in the championship, Braedon Boyers was a little bit better and got a bit more defensive support.”

     Wood River debuts its state quest Thursday at 10 a.m. against the top team from the Boise area, the Mountain View Toros. The Wranglers defeated the Toros 6-2 behind Christian Hovey’s pitching to open the Firecracker tournament July 3 at Centennial High School in Boise.

     Hovey said, “Going into state, I don’t get the feeling that the boys are ‘just happy to be there’. There’s a real sense that we could make a run at the state title. We even had a parent meeting Monday night to discuss the logistics of attending the regional tournament in Anchorage should we succeed.

     “No matter what happens this weekend, I am extremely proud of the 17 players representing Wood River American Legion baseball. They’ve gained the respect of the Idaho baseball community by what they’ve accomplished.”

     “Considering that we only lose two players in the next two years, the expectations will only grow.”

     Offensive leaders going into the state tournament are:

     Batting average (minimum 60 at-bats): Cam Benson .531, Finn Isaacson .476, Brandon Benson .460, Christian Hovey .367, Owen Gifford .341, Nic Tidwell .337.

     On-base percentage: Cam Benson .603, Finn Isaacson .589, Brandon Benson .572, Nelson Cantrell .539, Gifford .513.

     Hits: Brandon Benson 52, Cam Benson 51, Isaacson 39, Tidwell 31, Gifford 30.

     Runs: Brandon Benson 50, Gifford 48, Cam Benson 41, Tidwell 33, Isaacson 32.

     Doubles: Cam Benson 22, Brandon Benson 13.

     Triples: Brandon Benson 7.

     Home runs: Brandon Benson 2, Cam Benson 2.

     RBI: Cam Benson 43, Isaacson 36, Brandon Benson 34, Tidwell 31, Gifford 24.

     Bases on balls: Gifford 25, Dylan Broman 23, Cantrell 23.

     HBP: Brandon Benson 19.

     Stolen bases: Brandon Benson 21, Gifford 20.

 

 

Area C “A” American Legion baseball tournament results

Area C “A District Tournament Results

STYLE: CALENDAR

DETAIL: Helvetica, 8 pt, 9.5 pt lead, justified

YOUR INITIALS: jc

 

     July 24-26, 2014 at Twin Falls High School and Canyon Ridge High School, both in Twin Falls, hosted by the Twin Falls Black Hawks (Canyon Ridge) and Twin Falls Cowboys (Twin Falls High). A total 20 games, 301 runs scored. Regular-season divisional record listed after team name.

 

TEAM............................................................................................................................ RECORD.............. RUNS.... RUNS VS.

1—Pocatello Razorbacks (17-1)......................................... 3-0.................... 42..................... 7

2—Wood River Wranglers (15-3)........................................................................... 2-1.................................. 21.................................. 7

3—Idaho Falls Bees (15-5)....................................................................................... 3-1................................. 25................................ 31

Twin Falls Black Hawks (13-5).............................................................................. 4-2................................. 51............................... 42

Burley Green Sox (10-8)........................................................................................... 3-2................................. 43............................... 23

Rigby Trojans (15-5)................................................................................................... 2-2................................. 32............................... 28

Hillcrest (Idaho Falls) Knights (18-2)............................................................. 1-2.................................. 17................................ 22

Twin Falls Cowboys (9-9)........................................................................................ 1-2................................. 34.............................. 34

Blackfoot Broncos (10-8)......................................................................................... 1-2................................. 20.............................. 30

Pocatello Rebels (12-8)........................................................................................... 0-2.................................. 8................................ 22

Idaho Falls Rangers (13-7)..................................................................................... 0-2.................................. 5................................ 24

Upper Valley Cougars (9-11)................................................................................. 0-2.................................. 3................................. 31

 

PRE-TOURNAMENT SEEDS

West Division: 1—Pocatello Razorbacks. 2—Wood River Wranglers. 3—Twin Falls Black Hawks. 4—Burley Green Sox. 5—Blackfoot Broncos. 6—Twin Falls Cowboys.

East Division: 1—Hillcrest Knights. 2—Idaho Falls Bees. 3—Rigby Trojans. 4—Idaho Falls Rangers. 5—Pocatello Rebels. 6—Upper Valley Cougars.

 

WINNER BRACKET GAMES

Burley Green Sox 16, Pocatello Rebels 3 (5 innings)

Rigby Trojans 12, Twin Falls Cowboys 7

Twin Falls Black Hawks 17, Upper Valley Cougars 2 (5 innings)

Blackfoot Broncos 7, Idaho Falls Rangers 2

Hillcrest Knights 9, Burley Green Sox 8 (8 innings)

Wood River Wranglers 14, Rigby Trojans 0 (5 innings)

Idaho Falls Bees 7, Twin Falls Black Hawks 1

Pocatello Razorbacks 14, Blackfoot Broncos 5

Wood River Wranglers 7, Hillcrest Knights 2

Pocatello Razorbacks 23, Idaho Falls Bees 2 (5 innings)

 

LOSER BRACKET GAMES

Burley Green Sox 14, Upper Valley Cougars 1

Rigby Trojans 17, Idaho Falls Rangers 3

Twin Falls Black Hawks 6, Pocatello Rebels 5

Twin Falls Cowboys 14, Blackfoot Broncos 8

Burley Green Sox 4, Rigby Trojans 3 (8 innings)

Twin Falls Black Hawks 14, Twin Falls Cowboys 13

Idaho Falls Bees 7, Burley Green Sox 1

Twin Falls Black Hawks 7, Hillcrest Knights 6 (8 innings)

Idaho Falls Bees 9, Twin Falls Black Hawks 6 (third-place game)

 

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Pocatello Razorbacks 5, WoodRiver Wranglers 0

 

 

State “A” Tournament Schedule

State “A” American Legion baseball schedule

 

 

At Rodeo Park in NampaState “A” American Legion baseball schedule

 

 

State “A” American Legion baseball schedule

 

THURSDAY, JULY 31

10:00 a.m.............................................................. Wood River Wranglers vs. Mountain View Toros

1:00 p.m......................................................................... Idaho Falls Bees vs. Moscow Blue Devils

4:00 p.m........................................................................ Pocatello Razorbacks vs. Boise Capitals

8:00 p.m............................................................ Orofino Merchants vs. Nampa Braves (host team)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1

10:00 a.m............................................................ Loser WR-Mtn. View vs. Loser Moscow-Idaho Falls

1:00 p.m................................................................. Loser Pocatello-Boise vs. Loser Orofino-Nampa

4:00 p.m.......................................................... Winner WR-Mtn. View vs. Winner Moscow-Idaho Falls

7:00 p.m............................................................ Winner Pocatello-Boise vs. Winner Orofino-Nampa

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2

Loser bracket games 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Winner bracket games 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3

10:00 a.m............................................................................................... Loser bracket final

1:00 p.m................................................................................................ Championship game

 

PREVIOUS STATE “A” LEGION CHAMPIONS

1996—Nampa Braves. 1997—Orofino Merchants. 1998—Marsh Falls. 1999—Burley Bobcats. 2000-01—Buhl Tribe. 2002—Mountain Home Royals. 2003—Coeur d’Alene Lakers. 2004—Rexburg Dawgs. 2005—Boise Barons. 2006—Mountain Home Royals. 2007—Bear Lake. 2008—Lewiston Cubs. 2009-10—Bonneville Bees. 2011—Lewiston Cubs. 2012—Burley Green Sox. 2013—Nampa Braves (history supplied by Idaho American Legion Baseball).

 

 

 

 




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