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Wolverines Contest Spartans in Double Header
Tuesday, May 2, 2017


After suffering a tough loss to Minico on the road Friday afternoon, the Wood River Wolverines looked to bounce back at home in front of their faithful fans at Founders Field Saturday.

And bounce back they did in the first game of a twin bill, defeating the Spartans 5-4 behind the masterful pitching of junior Christian Hovey. The defense behind Hovey sparkled, limiting the high-powered Minico offense to just seven hits and four runs over seven innings.

In game two of the double header, Minico scored three runs in the fifth inning and four more in the sixth. Then the Spartans held off a Wood River rally to defeat the Wolverines by a score of 10-6.

In the first game, Wood River got on the scoreboard first as third baseman Andy Ruiz knocked in Andrew Nelson. Nelson had reached safely leading off the inning on a Spartan error, and he capitalized by stealing second and third base before  scoring easily on the ground out by Ruiz.

Minico answered with single runs in the second and third innings to briefly take a 2-1 lead over the home team.  But Ruiz and company would tie the game up in their half of the third. After leadoff singles by Ruiz and Hovey and a double steal, Brock Mary hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field to score Ruiz from third.

The bottom third of the Wolverine lineup started a two-run rally in the home half of the fourth inning. Evan Hesselbacher reached base after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Tiernan Naghsh reached on a Minico error and Kyle Nelson followed with an RBI single to score Hesselbacher. Naghsh tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate by a strong throw from the Spartans defense.  Hovey knocked in the second run of the inning to give the Wolverines a 4-2 lead after four complete innings.

Minico pulled within one run in the top of the fifth inning when Rylan Chandler scored from third on a wild pitch. But the Wolverines would prove resilient once again, getting that run back in the bottom of the inning when senior Zach Nelson scored on a Naghsh single to lead 5-3.

Hovey was in command on the mound, issuing only two walks while striking out two batters over six innings of work.  He threw strikes and pitched to contact, letting his stellar defense do the work.

A particularly magical piece of defense was turned in by freshman shortstop Andrew Nelson.  Spartan first baseman Kobe Matsen drilled a grounder right back up the middle of the diamond.  Nelson ranged far to his right and dove for the ball on the outfield grass. To the amazement of everyone he snagged the ball before it got passed him, quickly got to his feet and threw Matsen out at first base.

Minico would make one more push, scoring in the top of the sixth to pull within one run, 5-4. Coach Lars Hovey brought in Jett Erickson to try to close out the Spartans in the seventh.  Erickson struck out the first batter before allowing the Spartans to load the bases with two outs.  But he got out of the jam and preserved the victory for the Wolverines.

Erickson was the starting pitcher in Game Two, and Minico got to him early, scoring three runs in the top of the first.  Wood River was able to score two runs of their own in the bottom of the first as Andrew Nelson and Ruiz scored on a Hovey single and a Mary sacrifice fly.

The Wolverines would tie the game in the third on a Zach Nelson sacrifice fly, knocking in Hovey who had doubled leading of the inning.

But the Spartans erupted for three runs in the top of the fifth and four runs in the top of the sixth to take a 10-4 lead. The Wolverines scored two runs in the sixth, pulling closer. But their seventh inning rally was not to be, and Minico earned the split by a final score of 10-6, making their long road trip back to Minico much more bearable.

Next up for Wood River is the Twin Falls Bruins on Friday, April 28, at Founders Field. First pitch is at 4:30 p.m.


Wood River Game 1        ab              r              h              rbi

Nelson, A.  ss                     4              1              1              0

Ruiz, A   3b                         4              1              2              1

Hovey, C.  p                        4              0              2              1

Buxton, I.  cf                        3              0              0              0

Mary, B.  c                           3              0              1              1

Nelson, Z.  1b                     4              1              1              0

Hesselbacher, E. rf             2              1              1              0

Naghsh, T   lf                      3              0              1              0

Nelson, K.   2b   3               1              2              1

Totals                                  30           5              11             4


Wood River Game 2        ab              r              h              rbi

Nelson, A.  2b                    3              2              1              0

Ruiz, A.  3b                        3              2              2              2

Hovey, C.  1b                     4              1              2              1

Buxton, I.  cf                       3              0              1              0

Nelson, Z.  c                       2              0              1              1

Mary, B.  ss                         2              0              1              2

Hesselbacher, E.  rf            2              0              1              0

Naghsh, T.  lf                       3              0              0              0

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