Coming into Friday’s Pioneer Valley League baseball game with Colfax, the Bear River Bruins still had a decent chance of making the playoffs.
That chance may have flown away with the Falcons’ 7-2 road victory over the Bruins.
“We basically need Lincoln to beat Placer twice,” Bear River head coach Moe Barrios said. “If we win two and Placer wins two, they are in. We need to take care of our business next Wednesday.”
The Bruins (9-15, 4-8 PVL) sit a game and a half behind Placer (9-14, 5-6 PVL) for the third and final playoff spot allotted to the PVL with three left to play.
The Bruins get Colfax (14-5, 11-1 PVL), who has beat them twice this season by a combined score of 14-2, Wednesday and then close with back-to-back games against Center (7-13, 3-8 PVL).
Placer, who played Lincoln (17-4, 10-1 PVL) Friday, gets the Fighting Zebras again Wednesday and then closes with two games against PVL cellar-dweller Foothill (5-16, 1-10 PVL).
Bear River does hold the tie-breaker over Placer, having won two out of three games between the two teams.
In Friday’s game, the Bruins played toe to toe with the Falcons with the exception of a big four-run fourth inning that gave the Falcons the cushion they needed to earn the victory.
“We’re just an inning away from being a really good baseball team,” Barrios said. “We play six great innings, but we have to figure out a way to knock off that one bad inning.”
The Bruins’ defense was stellar for most of the game, including an impressive diving catch by shortstop Michael Raigoza, who then bounced back to his feet and threw out a Colfax runner at first for the double play. The Bruins had only two errors, but a pair of passed balls allowed two runs to score. Both passed ball runs came with two outs.
On the offensive side, Bear River struggled for most the game but did manage to put runners on when they could get the bat on the ball.
Colfax’s Devon Loomis kept the Bruins guessing much of the day, throwing a complete game, striking out 14, six on called third strikes, and walking none in just 96 pitches.
“From what I’ve seen, that’s the best pitcher in the league,” Barrios said. “He was still pumping in the mid-80s in the sixth and seventh innings. That kid was throwing heat.”
Bear River’s starting pitcher, Travis Anderson, was effective, throwing 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking six, but did allow seven runs.
“Travis was very strong,” Barrios said. “And our defense played pretty well other than that inning that cost us four runs. The thing about Travis today is he mentally wanted to go. I had to pull him off the mound, but he wanted to keep going.”
From the plate, the Bruins tallied six hits, including RBI hits from Brandon Donley and Dallon Crilly. Anderson added a base knock, senior third baseman Andrew Reiss had a single, David Chorjel chipped in a single, a run and a stolen base, and Andrew Harris had a hit and a run scored.
The Bruins will look to keep their playoff hopes alive Wednesday when they hit the road to face Colfax.
JV: Bear River 11, Colfax 7
The Bruins got the best of Colfax Friday, topping their PVL rival by four runs.
Tony Bianchi led the offensive charge for the Bruins with a double and three RBIs. Bear Belding was effective in the leadoff position, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Grae Golightly added a pair of hits, and Justin Leonard chipped in two hits and two RBIs.
From the slab, Dayton Anderson went five innings for Bear River, striking out one, walking three and allowing just two earned runs. Anderson helped himself out with two hits and three runs scored.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.