Bear River eliminated
WEST SACRAMENTO – Bear River Major Division All Stars manager Taylor Welz said the pitchers his players saw in Friday night’s one-run loss to Carmichael were the toughest they had seen in their lives.
At that point, his statement was true.
After his players met up with Airport’s (Sacramento) pitcher Bryan Fowler in Sunday’s second-round consolation bracket showdown, it wasn’t.
Fowler, who fanned 11, gave up three hits and walked two, dominated from the mound en route to 7-4 win as Bear River was bounced from the double-elimination tourney.
With a seven-run lead, Fowler had a no-hit shutout going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
But Bear River’s batters rallied for three hits and four runs, including a three-run homer from Morgan Juric, to cut the deficit to three runs,
As one good inning nearly got Bear River back into the game, it was one poor inning that allowed Airport the majority of its runs.
The first inning ended in a tie at zero after Fowler struck out the top of Bear River’s order.
In the second inning, with starter Juric on the mound for Bear River, the game was cracked open.
He picked up his only strikeout in the inning and forced one other to fly out, but in the process gave up five hits – one single, three doubles, and a home run – and six RBI. With two outs and the score 6-0 in Airport’s favor, Welz turned to who had been his other option to start the game: Son Zach Welz.
Coach Welz soon found himself regretting his pre-game decision to go with Juric, as Zach struck out the first batter he faced and allowed no runs until the fifth inning when he gave up a two-out RBI single.
That was the only run Welz gave up as he finished the game with three strikeouts and four hits.
After Bear River showed early signs of give-up, the sixth-inning near comeback was a 180-degree turn.
Jimmy Kastanes led off the inning with a single to kill Fowler’s no-hitter.
Brandon Fry and Welz followed by getting on off of errors to load the bases.
Jordan Beskeen picked up the first Bear River RBI on a fielder’s choice, which brought up Juric, who brought hope to his team with his three-run poke.
Hope was quickly shot down as Chris Wermes’ single separated the two final outs.
Even though Taylor Welz and his players had hopes of greater things, what they accomplished together is nothing to be overlooked.
Included in the list of accomplishments were the wins over Rocklin – something never done by a Bear River team at that level – and the District-11 title, also new to Bear River majors.
“I’m proud of the boys,” Coach Welz said. “It’s the best run a Bear River majors team has ever had. We just picked a tough day to be flat.”
The one player who never showed flatness, in Sunday’s game and throughout the tournament, was the younger Welz. He had been the constant defensive roadblock opponents could not get through, and in his first pitching stint in the All-Star tournament he nearly shut down his opposition.
“I try to go all out,” he said. “It’s just the way I play.”
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Hank Sowell’s introduction to the game of golf came early as a set of clubs was among the gifts he received on his very first birthday.