If Tuesday’s softball scrimmage between Nevada Union and Bear River was any indication of what fans can expect this season, then one thing is certain. The softball power balance in Nevada County has swung north.
The Lady Miners, who went 2-21-1 last season, took advantage of 15 free passes and a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Sarah Lundmark to beat Bear River on its home turf, 8-1, in five innings. It’s a feat NU head coach Kelly Boren has never achieved in his eight years coaching the Lady Miners.
“Since I’ve been coaching, we’ve never outscored them in a scrimmage or a game,” he said. “So it’s a nice feeling.”
Both teams struggled to put the bat on the ball as NU’s Lundmark pitched three no-hit innings, striking out five and walking none. Alexis Deatrick relieved Lundmark on the mound, pitching a pair of frames, allowing one hit and one unearned run while striking out four.
The Lady Miners were led offensively by Shyanne Parrish who drew four walks, stole four bases and scored a pair of runs. Carson Troth and Kelly Alt each added RBI walks, and Alexandra Scicluna scored a pair of runs from the leadoff spot. NU’s lone hit came off the bat of Bailey Voss, a dribbler up the middle in the fourth inning.
After the game, Boren said he was pleased with what his team was able to do in the field.
“I was fairly happy with the pitching,” he said. “I think my catchers did a good job. Defensively we are OK on the infield. In the outfield, we are still waiting for people to step up and own the position.”
Despite winning the scrimmage by seven runs, Boren did express some concern about the Lady Miners’ inability to hit.
“That girl from Bear River threw pretty good heat,” Boren said. “You get the rid of the rest of that stuff, and it’s a 0-0 ball game, but we will take runs any way we can get them.
“We push hitting in practice, and we usually hit well, but this girl throws gas.”
For Bear River, the big bopping Lady Bruins from a season ago are long gone as the team graduated nine members from the 2012 team that won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.
The Lady Bruins had only four base runners all game and managed just one hit and one unearned run.
The 2013 version of the Bear River softball team is centered around its hard-throwing pitcher Narissa Long.
The freshman with a rocket arm is Bear River’s only pitcher this season and will be the centerpiece for years to come, said new Bear River head coach Jason Bohrer.
“Narissa Long is a great leader. As a freshman pitcher, she’s probably going to throw every inning for the varsity this year,” he said. “She doesn’t get down on people and has a real positive attitude.
“My expectations are to bring Narissa along and build around her, put pieces around her. The nice thing about being young is we’re not in a hurry, we’re building, we don’t have to get kids there now.”
Long pitched all five innings Tuesday, and even though her accuracy was off with 15 walks, she also tallied 12 strikeouts along the way. Often NU batters left the batters box with wide eyes, impressed and possibly a little taken back by the freshman’s velocity.
Bohrer said he has a young team with very little varsity experience, but it’s a team that is willing to do whatever is asked of them.
“I like the team attitude. They work hard,” he said. “That’s the attitude we have. Just do whatever it takes for the team.”
For NU, the future is far brighter than it was a year ago. The Lady Miners have several returning players from last season, including junior Torri Parman, sophomore Cheyanne Ramos, Lundmark, Parrish and Voss.
NU has added freshman Savannah Ozuna at first base and sophomore Lacey Peternell on the mound to help shore up the squad.
“This year, we have a legitimate pitcher,” Boren said of Peternell. “In this game pitching makes a big difference. I think it just raises the whole game. Now, having a legitimate pitcher keeps you in games and allows things to happen.”
Peternell will start in NU’s home opener Friday.
“It promising,” Boren said about the impending season. “The travel ball teams are paying off, and we are starting to see the skill level come up. It’s pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to this season.”
Both teams start their preseason schedules at 3 p.m. Friday when NU hosts Bear River.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.