PREP BASEBALL: Bear River crushes Foothill in PVL home opener |

PREP BASEBALL: Bear River crushes Foothill in PVL home opener

Bear River's Nate Thompson pitches the ball during a game against Foothill Thursday afternoon.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

The Bear River baseball team was firing on all cylinders in their Pioneer Valley League home opener against Foothill Wednesday, beating the Mustangs handily, 10-0, in five innings.

“Our expectations are pretty high,” said Bruins pitcher Nate Thompson. “We would love to make the playoffs and get to sections this season. We really think we can compete with Lincoln and Placer. Our whole league is good, Center fights hard, Foothill fights hard, and there’s Colfax and they all fight hard, but we really think we can compete this year.”

Thompson was dominate on the mound in just his second start of the season, throwing a complete game, striking out three, walking one and allowing just two hits.

“I came in a little nervous, but I really thought to myself that I needed to calm down and just throw strikes and that’s what I did,” he said. “My defense helped me out a lot, great defense out there. It was just an awesome opportunity to get to throw and with my team behind me, my stuff was there.”

This was the first time Thompson pitched past the first inning. In his first start, a line drive hit him in the hand and he was forced to leave after just six pitches.

“Nice job by him,” Bear River head coach Eric Van Patten said of Thompson. “I liked the fact that he was pitching to contact.”

Thompson did not lack for run support as the Bruins scored early and often.

Bear River leadoff hitter Griffin Frank led off the game with an infield single, then quickly stole second and third base. Matt Lopez drove Frank home with a double down the third base line. Bear Belding, the Bruins’ shortstop, then ripped a single to put runners on first and third. Cleanup hitter Jacob Cross then drew a walk to load the bases and Will Last followed with a two-RBI base hit. Justin Leonard followed with a base knock and Jacob Van Patten brought Last and Leonard home with a double that reached the left field fence. The Bruins tallied six hits and six runs before an out was recorded.

Cross, the Bruins’ strapping third baseman, kept the highlights coming in the second inning, crushing a Foothilll offering that sailed over the fence in left center.

“Cross went yard to the deepest part of our park,” said Eric Van Patten. “It’s not easy to hit one out of Bear River.”

Bear River was held without a run in third, but got right back at it in the fourth. After a leadoff triple from Belding that soared over the center fielder’s head, Jared Van Vlack notched an RBI single and later scored on a fielder’s choice RBI from Trace Anderson.

The Bruins put the game away in the fifth when Van Vlacke hit a ball into the right center that landed just inches from the fielder’s glove, driving in Joe Rantz who kept the inning alive with a two-out infield single.

In all, the Bruins tallied 13 hits from eight different players.

In addition to Thompson’s dominant effort on the bump and the constant roar of the Bear River bats, the Bruins also played an errorless game in the field.

“We want to approach every game where we are focused on minimizing our errors,” said Eric Van Patten. “Any team at the varsity level in the PVL is a team where if you get an error or two on you, that’s a big advantage for them. I’m appreciative of the work they are doing.”

With the win the Bruins are now 3-2 overall and 2-1 in PVL play with victories over Center and Foothill and a loss to Lincoln.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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