Bruins fall to Lancers in heat |

Bruins fall to Lancers in heat

The Bear River Bruins boy’s baseball team traveled down to Sacramento on Saturday for the first game of a best three series in the CIF Division IV baseball championships. The East Union High School Lancers from Manteca (the same high school that the BR Girls softball team beat twice on Saturday to win their championship) defeated the Bear River boys 6-4 and now the Bruins will have to duplicate the outstanding effort of the Lady Bruins by winning two straight games this coming Tuesday afternoon against the Lancers.

The Bruins got a real taste of the hot summer weather as the temperature soared to 104 degrees in Sacramento during the game. It got so bad the home plate umpire collapsed from heat exhaustion in the fourth inning and the game was delayed for 30 minutes as the first base umpire had to take over behind the plate for the rest of the game. The exhausted umpire returned to umpire the bases.

Starting on the mound for Bear River was Brandon King who got off to a slow start by walking the first two batters that he faced, coupled with two stolen bases by the Lancers base runners putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Coach Mike Viola called for his infielders to play up on the grass to cut the run off at the plate. This strategy paid off as the next batter for the Lancers grounded to James McCririe at shortstop and held the runner at third while getting the out on a fine throw to first base. The cleanup hitter, Garrett Fisher, with the drawn in infield, hit a single off the end of the bat just over the head and the out stretched glove of first basemen Vince Viola allowing the first run of the inning to score from third base.

The Lancers’ Teddy Anderson hit a fly ball to left field that would have been the third out of the inning but was dropped for an error as another run scored for East Union, ending the first up 2-0.

Not letting down, Bear River’s heart of the batting order came out swinging in the top of the second inning. Drew Loftus led off beating out an infield single and was on first base when Vince Viola hit the first pitch he saw from the Lancer pitcher over the centerfielder’s head to deep right center field fence for a stand up triple, scoring Loftus from first base. With Viola on third, Chad Smith hit a ball deep in the hole to Lancer shortstop Marshall Swift who couldn’t make the throw home, opting to throw Smith out. The score tied the game at 2-2.

The Lancers picked up a run in the third after two were out with back-to-back doubles by Fisher and Anderson and in the fourth inning the Lancers produced another run on no hits with a walk, a stolen base, an error and a fielders choice. By the end of the inning the Lancers were leading 4-2.

In bottom half of the sixth inning, the Lancers put together two singles, two stolen bases, coupled with a Bear River error for two more runs that proved to be the margin of victory in the first game. Bear River would not go down with a fight and began a last inning rally to try and tie up this first game.

With one out in the seventh, Kyle Waldman singled sharply to right field and James McCririe followed with a sharp grounder that handcuffed third baseman Fisher and he was unable to get the force out at second base as Waldman beat the throw to second. With two men on and one out, pitcher Trae Lopez threw a wild pitch that allowed both Bear River runners to advance to second and third. Austin French came to the plate and hit a hard smash to the shortstop and Waldman scored from third on the throw out at first base.

Down three runs with two outs, Bear River’s Stephen Hilton came to the plate and doubled home McCririe for the fourth run of the game for Bear River. Unfortunately, Lopez struck out the final batter to end the game.

The Bruins had seven hits with Stephen Hilton leading the way with a double and two RBIs. Vince Viola had a triple and one RBI.

The loss went to King, however, he deserved a better fate, as the Bruin defense committed three errors that lead to three unearned runs. Bear River is now in a must-win situation with their next two games against the Lancers on Tuesday if they want to advance to the championship round against Oakdale or Placer.

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