Eric Parris' huge two-way game powered Wood River High School past No. 2 Minico in the Great Basin 7 tournament on Thursday—and put the Wolverines one win away from a state baseball tournament berth.
Parris struck out eight batters on the mound and launched a pair of three-run home runs at the plate to trigger the 10-run rule in the fifth inning, locking up the 16-5 win.
The win knocked the home-standing Spartans out of the double-elimination district tournament. Wood River plays at Burley on Friday in a third straight win-or-go-home game. The winner earns the conference's second bid into the IHSAA 4A state tournament next week.
"It was a huge day for WR Baseball and we have seen massive improvements for this team since we have been able to get on our field and play outside," Coach Brad Thompson said Thursday night.
Every starter logged at least one hit for the No. 4 Wolverines—none louder than Parris' blasts in back-to-back innings. The senior pitcher went 2-3 on the day, driving in six runs. He also threw all five innings, giving up five runs (four earned) and claiming the win.
The top-of-the-order tandem of Rabbit Buxton (3-4, 3 runs) and Dawson Speth (2-4, 2 runs) set the table for the heart of lineup. Clean-up hitting catcher Clayton Elsbree ran up four RBIs on a single and two walks. The senior also stole two bases and scored three times.
Wood River struck first, scoring five runs in the third inning. They never trailed.
Minico DH Caden Fletcher led the way for the Spartans with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Wood River lead to five runs at 10-5. A half-inning later, Parris' shot to deep center field put the game away.
"But in the end, it was done through effort too to bottom," Thompson said Thursday. "Timely hitting, stolen bases, an amazing catch at the wall by Gabe Nilsen, it all came together. We are very proud of the hard work they have put in and we are going into tomorrow with a winning streak and momentum."
Twin Falls capped a dominant run through Great Basin 7 competition Thursday with an 8-4 over Burley in the district title game. The Bruins advance to the 4A state tournament on the back of an undefeated record against conference opponents.
For the Bobcats, it's on to an elimination matchup with Wood River at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the second-chance bracket. Burley swept the season series—a doubleheader in Burley on April 14—12-2 and 11-5.
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