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Miners, Bruins prep for playoffs

One season is coming to an end and another is just around the corner for the Nevada Union and Bear River baseball teams.

Both clubs have already locked up berths in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, which begin on May 20, but they will face quite different situations in their regular-season ending games today.

On one hand, Bear River hosts rival Colfax in a key 4 p.m. contest that could determine the Pioneer Valley League’s No. 1 seed into the Division III playoffs. On the other, Nevada Union has no pressure, but is playing a special 6:30 p.m. nonconference game against Oakmont at Raley Field in Sacramento.



Bear River and Oakmont are tied for first-place in the PVL standings (Oakmont played Thursday against Mesa Verde), which puts the Bruins (10-1 league, 20-1 overall) in a must-win situation against Colfax (5-6, 7-8).

Pay no attention to those records.




“They’re a challenge anytime we play them,” Bear River coach Mike Viola said. “When you have a rivalry like this, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in first-place or last-place, it’s going to be a good game.”

Tyler French (9-0) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Bruins.

Should Bear River and Oakmont finish tied for first-place, the league’s No. 1 seed into the playoffs will be determined by a coin flip that will likely take place on Monday, according to Viola.

The difference between the No. 1 and 2 seeds is significant in regard to the first round of the section Division III tournament on May 20. The PVL No. 1 will open at 3 p.m. against the Capital Valley Conference No. 3 (either River City or Foothill). The PVL No. 2 will open at noon against the CVC champion (Vanden) and will also be on the same side of the bracket as defending champion Buhach. Either way, Bear River will play at Dan McAuliffe Memorial Park in Sacramento.

“It’s a shame when you go 20-1 and then end up as a No. 2 seed,” Viola said. “But to be honest, I haven’t looked at brackets or any of that. We just need to finish one season and then move on to the next.

“We have to be ready for Colfax. The guys know what’s on the line. They know what’s at stake, so I think they will be.”

For Nevada Union, tonight is an opportunity to play at Raley Field, home of the Pacific Coast League Sacramento River Cats. Senior ace Nic Gauldin is scheduled to start, although coach Ted White indicated he wants to work as many pitchers as possible in order to get ready for the playoffs.

“I want as many kids to get the opportunity to play at Raley Field as possible,” White said. “That’s the whole idea behind playing there.”

That’s the fun part.

Then the Miners move on to some serious business as the Metro League’s No. 2 seed in the Division I section tournament. The Miners will open with a 10 a.m. contest at American River College against the No. 2 representative from the Delta League (either Jesuit or Franklin).

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


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