The Bear River girls softball team narrowly avoided its second loss of the season Tuesday, using a late rally to nab a non-league home win against Del Oro, 4-3.
“They’re a good hitting team that has played good teams,” Bear River head coach Duane Zauner said of Del Oro. “They’ve played Woodcreek, they’ve played Rocklin, so they’ve seen good pitching. They did a good job, they battled us well, but I have to give Nerissa (Long) credit, she throws eight (innings) yesterday and comes back and battles today.”
Long, the Lady Bruins’ hard-throwing sophomore pitcher, threw a complete game, allowing five hits and three unearned runs while striking out seven and walking none. Long did hit one Del Oro batter.
“My game has improved in that I am able to hit my spots,” Long said. “Knowing that I got a good catcher back there I just try to hit my spots.”
The Lady Bruins had squandered several scoring opportunities early in the game, stranding eight runners through the first four innings, but after the Lady Golden Eagles seized the lead with a three-run fifth inning, Bear River answered back.
Trailing by one, 3-2, in the bottom fifth inning with two-out and two-on, sophomore Nicki Whittle dug into the batters box. Whittle ripped a single up the middle scoring Dayna Wicks, and when the ball skipped away from the catcher on the throw home, Danielle Crilly scored to put the Lady Bruins up, 4-3.
“I was just really focused on hitting,” Whittle said. “I haven’t been hitting that much lately, so this was a really good game for me, I’m really happy that I hit it.”
Zauner said he was proud to see his team persevere after falling behind late.
“Dayna (Wicks) had been sick so she didn’t start today, but she’s a senior and when she was called on she stepped up and got a big hit with two outs.” Zauner said. “Then we got a walk and all of sudden Nicki goes 3-for-3 on the day, and we put pressure on the plate, get two runs and win the game.”
It was Whittles third hit of the day, matching her total for the season.
“It was pretty great,” she said. “Everyone is really proud of me and I’m really proud of myself.”
The Lady Bruins (7-1) scored a run in the first inning when freshman Arielle Koerber knocked in Rachel Last. They scored again in the second when Last drove in Crilly. The Lady Bruins would then leave the bases loaded in the third and strand two runners in the fourth. In all, Bear River left nine runners on base.
Overall the Lady Bruins fared well at the plate with catcher Mikayla Laymance getting a hit, Maddie Ferri going 2-for-4. Long added a single, Koerber was 1-for-3 with an RBI, Brianna Maddux had a pair of hits, Wicks had a hit and a run scored and India Vierra chipped in a sac bunt.
For Long it’s her fifth win of the season to just one loss. On the year, she has a 0.00 ERA and has 81 strikeouts to just nine walks.
The Lady Bruins get a couple days off before hosting Monterey Trail at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.