After roughly a month and a half of prep baseball we are already 50 percent of the way through the season and as Nevada Union, Bear River and Forest lake Christian prepare for the meat of their league schedules we take a look at how the teams have fared so far.
The Nevada Union Miners (6-5) opened their 2013 campaign winning four of their first five contests, including victories over Rio Americano, Bella Vista, River Valley and Yuba City, but have since fallen in four of their last six. Three of those four losses came during the Lions Tournament this week.
The Miners’ ace on the mound, Ryan McCarthy, will be key to Nevada Union’s success when the Sierra Foothill League season kicks up April 9.
In five appearances this season, McCarthy is 4-0 and NU has won all five outings, including their lone win in the Lions Tournament. The hard throwing senior righty boasts an ERA under one and leads the team in strikeouts.
The rest of Nevada Union’s pitching staff has struggled through the early part of the season, but senior pitchers Cody Gardner and Nick Eccarius have shown signs of improvement, and juniors Beau Des Pois and Garrett O’Callaghan have both shown promise.
Off the mound, Gardner is a standout first basemen and an asset at the plate, batting .350. Eccarius plays shortstop when not atop the slab, and has a keen eye at the plate, leading NU in walks this season.
As a team, the Miners were batting .300 before heading to the Lions Tournament. The offense is spurred on by the hot hitting Dylan Conger. The junior catcher was batting .480 heading into last week’s tournament and was tied for the team-high in RBIs with four.
Scrappy second baseman Matt Paruszkiewicz is having a breakout season in his senior year, batting .435 with an on-base percentage at .500.
Other Miners to keep in eye on in the back half of the season are third baseman Travis Hansen, Joey Souza, Jakob Freele and Zach White.
NU’s offense manages 4.27 runs per game and gives up 4.09 runs per game through its first 11 games.
The Miners have one more pre-league game, facing Bear River Thursday, before opening the SFL season against Rocklin. The Thunder are 5-5 this season, and finished second in the SFL in 2012, behind Granite Bay.
The Bruins started slow, losing their first four games and five of their first six, but have bounced back nicely with wins in six of their last eight contests, including a 4-1 showing at the Selma Kiwanis Easter Tournament this week.
The Bruins seem to have shaken off their early rust and are hitting their stride just as the Pioneer Valley League starts to heat up. Bear River has already logged four PVL games this season with wins over Placer and Foothill and losses to Lincoln and Colfax, who are both 4-0 in league play.
The Bruins strength is their depth at pitcher. Bear River doesn’t have a clear ace, but Travis Anderson, who threw a no-hitter in Wednesday’s game against Oroville, Andrew Reiss, Jake Sypnicki, Brodie Beck and Michael Scudero give head coach Dahorl Ennis plenty of options throughout the season.
Ennis said he doesn’t have one power pitcher this season, but plenty of guys that can get the job done.
At the plate, the Bruins’ bats came alive at the Selma Kiwanis tourney.
Sypnicki is a treasure to have leading off. The junior second baseman has 11 hits and eight RBIs in his last five games, and has proven he can hit any pitcher he faces.
Anderson is the power bat in the line up with a pair of dingers already this season, and Reiss, Michael Raigoza, David Chorjel and Scudero are all offensive threats as well.
Bear River has 14 games left this season with nine of those being league contests. Colfax and Lincoln are at the top of the PVL and both have a win over the Bruins, but Bear River does play both squads two more times before the season concludes.
Forest Lake Christian
The Falcons have picked up where they left off last season – looking like a playoff team.
Despite losing star players from last year’s team, Robert Bristol and Shane Soria, who graduated, Forest Lake Christian is off to a strong start, winning six of eight games played.
The Falcons are already 6-2 overall and 2-0 in the Central Valley California League with wins over Victory Christian and Delta.
Catcher Kyle Soria and shortstop Jacob Yarborough along with seniors Hunter Phillips and Wils Riley lead the Falcons this season.
Soria, who batted lead off in his freshmen year, now bats in the three spot, taking advantage of the sophomore’s power. Soria also pitches, notching 12 strikeouts in his last outing.
Yarborough pitches and provides consistency at the shortstop position, Yarborough is the Falcons cleanup hitter, possessing the ability to hit for average and power.
Phillips and Riley are the lone seniors on a varsity team that has eight freshmen, one sophomore and three juniors. On the mound, Phillips has shown he can go all seven, throwing a complete game earlier this season against Foresthill, and first basemen Riley possesses the hottest bat on the team, said head coach Jess Soria.
What makes the Falcons great is their grit and determination. Often times in Division V baseball, the play can get sloppy. But, that’s the where the Falcons thrive. FLC has shown the ability to capitalize on the others team’s mistakes which result in Falcon wins.
Other Falcons to keep an eye on this season are second basemen Logan Ray, third basemen Daniel Cuneo, Kody Kennedy and freshmen Mike Rubio.
Forest Lake Christian has an extended amount of time off with their spring break occurring next week, but get back to action against Sacramento Waldorf April 8.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.