Catching a win
Michael Lucas accepted all the high fives and handshakes in stride Friday night, just after he and his Bear River teammates had finished what they started earlier in the week.
Lucas struck out nine and allowed three hits over six innings of work to pick up his second win on the mound this week, after another dominating performance from both his right arm and Bear River’s bats.
Bear River claimed the first-ever District 11, Area 2 11-year-old Little League All Star tournament Friday, defeating host Nevada City 12-2.
“I’m pretty excited. We’re all pretty excited,” said Bear River manager Dave Beghetti. “This is the first time they’ve offered an 11-year-old tourney and we won. That’s something to be excited about.”
Beghetti’s boys wrapped up the three-team tournament much the same way as it opened play on Monday, when Lucas threw Bear River to an 8-0 win over Grass Valley.
A day later, Bear River bounced Nevada City into the consolation bracket by virtue of a 6-1 score, meaning that in three games Bear River beat its opponents by a combined 26-3 count.
“Bear River is a very good team. I commend them,” said Nevada City manager John Sekerak. “They’re well-coached and very aggressive. They constantly put pressure on us all night. They’re very good at that.
“They finally broke through, but we kept with them for awhile.”
Nevada City was within striking distance, trailing 3-2, heading into the fifth inning, when Bear River broke out the bats in a big way. The visitors produced a two-out rally that scored seven runs on six hits. David Karas, Matt Veneman and Andy Brooding each had RBI singles in the inning, while Coleman Huntley pushed two runs across with a double to right field.
When the dust had settled, Nevada City pitcher John Sekerak had watched a one-run deficit balloon to eight in a hurry. Five NC errors in the field didn’t make it easy to escape the two-out rally once it got rolling.
“We just went up there and starting hitting the ball and doing what we know how to do,” Beghetti said.
Justin Lawton led Bear River with a three-hit night, including an RBI and two runs scored. Brooding, Chris Fox, Brian Kenyon and Coleman Huntley each had two hits in the win.
Nevada City threatened with a rally of its own in the bottom half of the fifth, as Lucas walked two and allowed a single to load up the bases. He then stuck out the next batter, before Bear River center fielder Kyle Nelson ran down a deep line drive off the bat of Joshua Knapp to end the inning.
“I was a little nervous then,” said Lucas, who racked up six of nine strikeouts in the first two innings. “I just threw my curveball and fastball, mixing them up.”
Nevada City got two of its three hits off the bat of Alec Giron, who beat out a grounder to short in the first inning and singled to right in the fifth. Randy Biersdorff had a single to center field in the second inning.
“I think it’s great that they have an 11-year-old tournament,” said Nevada City manager John Sekerak, who guided NC’s 9-10 year old All Stars out of the consolation bracket to the District 11 championship last summer. “This just gives more kids the opportunity to play in a tournament atmosphere.”
Bear River will attempt to become the first District 11 11-year-old championship team Monday, when the Area 1 champion, either Auburn or Rocklin, comes to Pioneer Park in Nevada City at 7 p.m. that night.
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Golfers Jackie Hill and Bonnie Marvelli teamed up to take top honors in the 2021 Partners Best Ball Championship of the Nevada County Country Club Women’s Golf Group.