A Bear of a night
Chris Fox said he was speechless after throwing his Bear River 11-year-old All Star team to the District 11 Championship Monday night at Pioneer Park in Nevada City.
And for the most part, the Magnolia Elementary School sixth grader was pretty tight-lipped after Bear River bounced Auburn out of the All Star Tournament by a 9-6 score.
The boy did, however, make it loud and clear that he was dedicating his pitching performance to his dad, who stood behind the backstop throughout the game in a show of support for his son, even though he’s suffering from pancreatic cancer.
“I’m just proud of him,” said 67-year-old Coy Fox. “I’m just proud to be able to watch this. That’s been my main concern, to be able to watch this season.
“Because I don’t know if I’ll be here next season.”
Considering the fight the younger Fox showed Monday, the father might just get many more chances to watch his boy play in the near future.
After blowing the game open with an eight-run fourth inning, Bear River looked to have the District title all but wrapped up. Auburn, though, answered with some offense of its own to make things interesting by the sixth and final inning.
“Poor Chris was running out of gas and (Auburn) just did not give up,” said Bear River manager Dave Beghetti. “We had them down 9-1 and they just would not give up.”
Auburn trailed 9-4 with three outs remaining, but rallied back to a 9-5 score to bring the potential tying run to the plate with two outs.
“I was a little scared and a little tired,” said Chris Fox. “I was a little scared because they were real aggressive hitters. I didn’t want them to get a grand slam off me.
“But I knew I could do it.”
Fox forced Auburn’s Koal Swisley into a ground ball to first base, but the play pulled Bear River first baseman Michael Lucas away from the bag, allowing Swisley to reach safely.
After having the ball thrown back to him, however, Fox turned and tossed the ball to second base, where shortstop Justin Lawton tagged out Peter Freer, who had overrun the bag, for the final out of the game.
“It was kind of nerve-racking at the end, there,” said Coy Fox. “But he showed a lot of grit.”
Chris Fox threw all six innings for Bear River, striking out four en route to the win. He also went 2 for 2 at the plate, drove in two runs and scored two more.
Lucas had a double, 2 RBI and two runs scored, while Cole White had a two-run double and Coleman Huntley added an RBI double of his own during the eight-run fourth inning.
Because Auburn entered Monday’s game with a prior loss in the Area 1 Tournament, undefeated Bear River needed just one win for the double-elimination District 11 title.
Bear River is back in action Saturday, traveling to Roseville for a 7:30 p.m. game against Sunnyside Little League in the 11-year-old Section Tournament.
9-10 All Stars
Bear River 11, Auburn 1
Bear River’s 9-10 year old All Stars claimed the District 11 championship in impressive fashion Monday, defeating Auburn 11-1 in five innings at Foresthill Little League.
Nick Viola struck out nine for the win on the mound and added a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Sean Smith led Bear River with a 3-for-4 hitting performance, while John Magni went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs, including the game-clinching run that invoked the 10-run rule.
“I guess a couple of years ago, we noticed that this group of 10 year olds is a pretty athletic group,” said Bear River manager Tom Harris. “It’s just a tremendous group. And tonight, things just clicked for us.”
Bear River will travel to Sacramento Saturday to compete in the 9-10 All Star Section Tournament and will face District 6 in a 2 p.m. game.
Junior All Stars
Rocklin 14, Nevada City 0
Nevada City’s Junior All Star team, which claimed the Area 2 championship by defeating Bear River 15-0 Saturday night in Auburn, fell to Area 1 champ Rocklin by a 14-0 score Monday in Rocklin.
The two teams return to action at 7 p.m. today in Auburn for game two of the best-of-three series. If necessary, the two teams will meet in a third and deciding game for the District 11 championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Rocklin.
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