It was a good day of pitching, clutch hitting and defense for the Wood River American Legion Wranglers baseball team on Tuesday at Hailey’s Founders Field.
West Division contender Wood River (15-10) swept its fourth Area C “A” doubleheader of the summer season by scores of 11-2 and 5-1 over the Central Division Pocatello Rebels. The Wranglers improved their home record to 6-5.
The three Wranglers pitchers allowed only eight hits over 14 innings, and the home defense didn’t commit an error in the 11-2 opening game.
Righthander Andy Ruiz (87 pitches, 2 earned runs, 5 strikeouts) finished with a six-hit complete-game win, improving his record to 2-1. Ruiz also had two of Wood River’s nine hits, and scored twice.
Wood River, drawing 10 walks and four HBP from three Rebels pitchers, took advantage of the Pocatello pitching to walk four times and score five runs for a 6-0 lead in the third. Wild pitches scored three of the runs, and a passed ball plated a fourth.
The key moment in the rally occurred when leadoff hitter Blake Nelson executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt with the bases loaded. Hunter Thompson (3 runs) was running hard from third base on the play, and scored easily.
Ruiz’s leadoff single in the fourth followed by five free passes and a sacrifice fly by Nelson (2 hits, 3 RBI) lifted Wood River to a 10-0 lead.
In the sixth, Jesus Sandoval’s leadoff single and a two-out RBI single by Liam Curd (2 hits) plated the 11th run. During the game, Huck Sprong added two hard-hit balls including a long triple to left.
In Tuesday’s nightcap, Ethan Shoemaker (4-0) was Hailey’s winning pitcher with five-plus innings of work.
Shoemaker threw 78 pitches (49 strikes) and allowed only two hits along with his six punch-outs. Reliever Sandoval (0 hits) closed the game out.
Trailing 1-0 in the third, Wood River tied it 1-1 with an unearned run after a one-out Curd single. Shoemaker tripled home David Garcia in the fifth for a 2-1 Hailey lead. Shoemaker scored on Sprong’s sacrifice fly for a 3-1 cushion.
Center fielder Chance Appell (2 hits) singled with one out in the home sixth as Wood River tacked on two insurance runs against Rebels losing pitcher Zach Blad (6 innings, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 4 HBP). Sandoval added an RBI single.
Pocatello scored its run in the first inning on Ethan Ellis’ RBI double, driving home Kyler Spracklen.
Wood River (9-5 on the road) travels to eastern Idaho for five inter-divisional games this weekend and Monday.
The Wranglers visit the Area C “A” East Division Idaho Falls Tigers today, Friday, July 12 for two games starting at 4 p.m., and meet the Idaho Falls Knights at Hillcrest High on Saturday at 12 noon.
Scheduled for Monday is a single game against the Central Division Blackfoot Broncos, in Blackfoot at 4 p.m.