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Oh, So Close! Wolverines Duke it Out With Minico in Baseball Semis
Friday, May 13, 2016


Before the 2016 baseball season began, Wood River Head Coach Donnie Green said the Wolverines’ goal was to consistently play “championship baseball.”

By all accounts, they achieved that goal by putting together one of the best baseball seasons by a Wolverine team in many years. Unfortunately, the season ended prematurely with a 9-7 loss to the Minico Spartans in the semifinal game of the Great Basin District IV Baseball Tournament.

A berth in the State Tournament and a matchup with Twin Falls awaited the victor of Thursday’s matchup between these two fierce rivals.   Everyone in the packed house at Founders Field knew the significance of the game and what was on the line, and the tension on the field and in the stands was evident throughout.

Wolverine starting pitcher Nic Tidwell had control problems early, giving up three runs in the second inning while issuing three walks as the Spartans staked an early lead.  The Spartans tacked on an additional run in the third to gain a 4-0 advantage over Wood River.

However, as they had done all season, the Wolverines dug deep, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third when Senior Reide Whitehead singled sharply, driving in Owen Gifford and Tidwell and cutting the Minico lead in half. Wood River relief pitcher Kyle Nelson shut down the Spartans in the top of the fourth inning, giving his team a perfect opportunity to close the gap.

The Wolverine bats heated up in the bottom of the inning, as sophomore catcher Ike Buxton led off with a booming triple to right center, igniting the dugout and the Wood River faithful.

 Junior Cade Schott followed with a single, scoring Buxton and pulling the home team within one run. Gifford and Tidwell each singled to load the bases, and a walk by senior Dylan Broman brought Gifford home with the tying run.  And a Whitehead sacrifice fly gave the Wolverines the lead for the first time in the game at 5-4.

Senior Captain Adrian Rojas singled to bring home Tidwell, and sophomore Christian Hovey singled, bringing home Broman to make the score 7-4, in favor of the Wolverines.

But Minico fought back in the top of the fifth inning, scoring three runs to tie the score, 7-7. Wood River was unable to score in the bottom half of the fifth, and the Spartans took advantage in the very next inning, scoring two runs to take a 9-7 lead.

The Wolverines threatened in the sixth and seventh innings, putting base runners on. But a Minico double play erased any hopes of a final inning comeback, putting the Spartans into the championship game and ending the season for Wood River.

Thursday’s game not only marked the end of the season for the team, it also marked the end of the high school baseball careers for the nine seniors on the Wolverine squad. Dylan Broman, Alec Nordseick, Reide Whitehead, Adrian Rojas, Gunner Gibson, Nic Tidwell, Nelson Cantrell, Lane Felger and Mikey Levy all were major contributors to a rebirth of baseball excellence at Wood River, and they should all be very proud of what they accomplished and the product they delivered on the baseball diamond. This team always displayed heart and courage, battling every pitch of every inning of every game as they treated  their fans to season of championship baseball.

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