Bear River wins on walkoff |

Bear River wins on walkoff

When Sammy Aguilar stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, with his Bear River Little League Junior All-Stars tied to Nevada City 6-6, he wasn’t thinking too hard about the situation.

There was two runners on the bags and two outs on the scoreboard. His team had just jaunted back from the dead, a 6-2 hole after four innings. But that wasn’t sweating him.

Aguilar wasn’t even thinking about his birthday, after turning 14 on Thursday.

“I just had to listen,” Aguilar said after hitting a walk-off RBI single to help his team win 7-6 in a dramatic comeback. “There was nothing but the pitcher and me. I just wanted to put the bat on the ball.”

Sure enough, his line drive to left field at Condon Park Thursday sprung the runner on second for Bear River’s game-winning run. Only minutes before it had seemed there was just a need for one more strike or one more out to keep Aguilar’s team down and put Nevada City in the win column against their south county rivals.

But Bear River just kept fighting.

“Everybody came through,” Bear River manager Matt Sween said to his team after the game. “I haven’t been able to celebrate all year and I got to here. We’ve won big games before but we haven’t won exciting games.”

Bear River had actually opened up the game’s scoring in the bottom of the first inning, tacking on the game’s first run on an RBI double by Trevor McGhee. But Nevada City wrestled firm control for the rest of the game, led by strong at bats from Rob Wood, Tyler Houlihan and Jake Hofheinz. NC scored three runs in the third inning and another three in the fifth, with Houlihan and Wood scoring twice. In those two innings combined, Hofheinz drove in four runs, including a two-RBI double over the left fielder’s head in the fifth.

The game was practically in the bag for Nevada City, who had shut down Bear River from the mound with a combination of Callison and Conner Fuller retiring 15 of the first 19 batters. Fuller struck out four Bear River batters in relief effort. But the strings became unwired in the sixth inning for him and his team.

Nevada City gave up two runs in the sixth inning after loading the bases and committing two errors, missing two balls and walking a batter home. Even then, they were still up 6-4.

Bear River managed to keep a lid on Nevada City in the seventh before starting their last-minute rally. Trevor McGhee singled to center field, stole a base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a ground out. Shane Soria came up and was walked, advanced to second on a ground out and then stole third. He was knocked in on a single by Brandon Bump. Bump was replaced in the lineup by a pitch runner, who was then knocked in by Aguilar only two batters later.

“(My birthday) happens every year,” said Aguilar simply. “But not as cool as this.”

To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail or call 477-4244.

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