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Bear River takes No. 2 seed after flip

A flip of the penny didn’t work out so well for the Bear River baseball team on Monday afternoon when Oakmont won a coin flip to determine the Pioneer Valley League’s No. 1 seed into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Tournament.

Bear River (21-1 overall, 11-1 league) now advances as a No. 2 seed into the tournament and opens with a noon game Saturday against Capital Valley Conference champion Vanden (Fairfield, 19-3) at Dan McAuliffe Memorial Park at California State University, Sacramento. Oakmont advances as the PVL’s No. 1 and plays its first-round game at 3 p.m. against River City, the third-place representative from the Capital Valley Conference.

Bear River and Oakmont finished with identical 11-1 league records and split their two regular season meetings, which forced a coin flip held at Marie Callender’s in Auburn. Bear River coach Mike Viola called heads when the penny was flipped. The coin came up tails.



Nevertheless, Viola was quick to point out that games aren’t won with coins or on paper.

“You still have to beat everybody to win it all, so you might as well take the high road,” Viola said. “The important thing is to get past Suicide Saturday. If you lose that first game, you’re out, so that first one is the big one.”




The Bruins have gone one-and-out in each of the last three years, losing each time to a team from the Valley Oak League – 2-1 against Buhach Colony (Atwater) in 2003, 7-5 against East Union (Manteca) in 2004 and 3-0 against Oakdale in 2005

Bear River is now riding a 17-game win streak, the only loss coming by a 2-1 score on March 22 at home against Oakmont – decided by a controversial balk call in the top of the eighth inning. After winning the Lions Club Invitational A division championship April 13 in San Diego, the Bruins returned to league and haven’t given up more than one run in their last nine games.

Senior left-hander Tyler French pitched two-hit ball and struck out 13 batters during five innings in Bear River’s regular season-ending 17-0 win at home against Colfax on Friday.

” If these boys play the way they’ve been playing and Tyler (French) stays strong, we should give anyone a decent game,” Viola said.

Of course, this is the most exciting time of the season.

“Everybody’s got a chance now,” Viola said. “We all start from scratch. I know we’re looking forward to it. This senior group, they’ve been talking about winning the section title. That’s their goal.”

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To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail davidp@theunion.com or call 477-4240.


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