Bruins cruise to win
Riding a streak of 11 straight victories, including a 10-0 shutout at home against Mira Loma on Friday afternoon, it would appear the Bear River baseball team is on a roll.
You won’t hear the Bruins talking about the past, though. Or even the future. They’re simply taking it one game at a time – one pitch at a time, actually.
“We never look to tomorrow; we play this pitch now,” senior catcher Robby Alcombrack said. “We’re pretty much doing everything we need to do right now. We’re just going out and having fun and we play each game as if it’s our last.”
Alcombrack set the tone Friday afternoon when he picked a runner off second base in the top of the first inning and then slammed a two-run homer to ignite a seven-run rally in the bottom half of the inning.
Meanwhile, eight different players contributed to a 12-hit attack and sophomore Vince Viola pitched three-hit ball in a game called in the sixth inning due to the 10-run rule. By winning, the Bruins (7-1 Pioneer Valley League, 16-1 overall) remained tied for first-place with Oakmont.
Since winning the Lions Club Invitational in San Diego during Easter break, they’ve beaten four league opponents by a combined 42-2 score.
“We’re taking it one game at a time,” Bear River coach Mike Viola said. “I know that’s an old cliché, but that’s exactly what we have to do. If we win out, we have a share of first place and then we move on.”
Any suspense on Friday was eliminated in the first inning.
Mike Keegan singled and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt to start the game for Mira Loma. Then Alcombrack picked the runner off second with a strike to shortstop Matt Hilton to effectively wipe out the rally.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Bruins touched Mira Loma ace Jonathan Surratt for seven runs. Matt Miraldi lined a two-strike pitch into right field to lead off, then after one out, Alcombrack crushed a 3-1 pitch over the left field fence for his eighth home run of the season.
“I knew he had to throw something good and I was hoping something middle and in,” Alcombrack. “It was right there and I just made a short inside move to the ball … but you don’t just win a game on one pitch.”
The Bruins didn’t stop there, by any means.
A.J. Nuñez tripled to center field and scored when Tyler French singled to right. Hilton doubled down the left field line to drive in another run. Matt Freitas and Ryan Giacomini drove in runs with infield hits, extending the lead to 7-0. In all, the Bruins sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning.
“I asked for that yesterday,” coach Viola said. “Vince hadn’t thrown in 10 days, so he didn’t have his best stuff today. But with a seven spot in the first, with Robby back there (at catcher), and the way we play defense, that takes a of the pressure off our pitcher.”
Defensively, Bear River’s infield turned a pair of ground ball double plays. Giacomini fielded a grounder at second base, stepped on the bag and threw to French at first base to complete an inning-ending double play in the second. Hilton, Giacomini and French collaborated on an inning-ending double play in the sixth.
For the game, Vince Viola logged six strikeouts and four walks to go with his three-hit shutout.
Alcombrack also tripled and scored on a Nuñez sacrifice fly in the fourth. In the sixth, Alcombrack walked and scored on a passed ball to end the game.
Miraldi, Alcombrack and Nuñez hit 2-for-3 and French 2-for-4 to lead Bear River offensively. Steve Sitter also doubled and scored in the third inning for the Bruins, who return to action at 2 p.m. Wednesday with a league doubleheader at West Campus.
To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4240.
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