Baseball’s many charms include mind-boggling streaks and sudden reversals.
Wood River High School’s varsity baseball team, snake-bit by snow and close losses in the early going, got the benefit from one of those sudden reversals Monday in its home-opening doubleheader at Hailey’s Founders Field.
Coach Dave Slotten’s Wolverines, staring at the prospect of their second four-game losing streak of the season, had lost six one-run decisions including Monday’s 4-3 setback in the conference opener.
Yet, trailing 8-0 early and then 10-5 with darkness falling in the sixth inning of the second game against Century’s Diamondbacks, Wood River scored an improbable eight runs and held on to win 13-12.
The win was not without drama. Century scored twice on Deakon Blackhawk’s one-out, two-run single in the visitor seventh to make it close for the visitors from Pocatello.
But Hailey right-hander Fabian Leos whiffed the final two Diamondbacks with the tying run in scoring position to seal the triumph. Leos faced 11 batters in his two-inning closing stint to earn the victory.
Hunter Thompson (0 earned runs, 6 strikeouts, 3 hits), the second of three Wood River pitchers, threw four-plus innings of solid middle relief keeping his team in the game.
Wood River (4-11) won its second Great Basin Conference game, if you count the 10-5 suspended-game decision at Jerome March 21 that may or may not be finished in the short spring season.
And the Wolverines did it with a diverse attack—nine different players contributing to the 11-hit offense led by Fabian Leos (2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 3 stolen bases) and Chance Appell (2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI).
Leadoff hitter Andrew Nelsonm reached bases four times, making it eight times with four hits in the 14-inning doubleheader. Dom Leos and Alonso Estrada each had two RBIs. Estrada’s sacrifice fly in the sixth drove home Appell with what turned into the game-winning run.
Wood River capitalized on six free passes in its big inning, but the Wolverines needed no such Century generosity in their five-run fifth that kicked off the long road back from the 8-0 third-inning deficit.
Five straight singles by James Cantrell, Boone Scherer, Fabian Leos, Appell and Noah Roberts all turned into runs, with Dom Leos knocking home the last two, doing so with two outs during the uprising.
Slotten’s team very nearly won the doubleheader because of the complete-game pitching job turned in by Noah Roberts in the opener.
Roberts (104 pitches, 6 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts) allowed the first four Century batters he faced to reach base—two on singles and two walks—and all scored when big first baseman Brendan Daniels finished it with a two-out, two run single.
After that, Roberts got better and better. He benefited from two double plays in the second and third, retired nine straight Diamondbacks at one point, and allowed only two singles. He needed only 37 pitches to retire Century in the last four frames.
The winning pitcher in the dazzling 96-minute pitcher’s duel was Century’s Skyler Warner (93 pitches, 3 earned runs, 6 hits, 5 free passes, 4 strikeouts). He stranded five Wood River runners in scoring position.
Andrew Nelson went 3-for-3 and scored twice for Wood River, Dom Leos chipped in with two hits, and catcher Huck Sprong drove home two runs. Century went home with a 3-9 season record, 3-5 in league.
Wood River visits the Preston Indians (2-7, 1-7) today, Friday for a 3 p.m. Great Basin double-dip, and hosts Slotten’s former team Canyon Ridge of Twin Falls (9-5, 6-2) on Tuesday, April 16 for two games starting at 3 p.m. at Founders.