PREP BASEBALL: Bear River set to face El Capitan in semis |

PREP BASEBALL: Bear River set to face El Capitan in semis

Bear River's Bear Belding hits the ball during a playoff game against Los Banos Wednesday earlier this season.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

Know & Go

What: Sac-Joaquin Section DIV baseball semifinals (game 1)

Who: No. 3 Bear River vs. No. 2 El Capitan

When: noon, today

Where: Tony Zupo Field, Lodi

The Bear River baseball team came through with a thrilling come-from-behind, extra-inning win in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

Now, the No. 3 seed Bruins open a best-of-three series with No. 2 El Capitan today, with a spot in the Division IV championship on the line.

The Merced based El Capitan (20-7) won the Western Athletic Conference and beat Placer, 7-1, in its first playoff game. The Gauchos are led by junior Braiden Ward (.455 batting average, seven doubles, five triples, 27 stolen bases). Their big RBI guys are Sai Savuluri (.360 batting average, 10 doubles, 21 RBIs), Tyler Skelton (.411 batting average, 16 RBIs) and Samuel Mora (.277 batting average, 15 RBIs). As a team, El Capitan has a .310 batting average and average 6.5 runs per game.

On the mound, the Gauchos lean on junior Chase Whitaker (40.2 innings pitched, 1.20 ERA) and Skelton (33.2 innings pitched, 1.46 ERA).

The Bruins (18-9-1) come into the game riding a four-game winning streak. In their win over Los Banos in the first round, they showed there is no quit in them as they rallied from a 7-0 deficit to win in extra innings.

“The message is play until the very end,” said Bear River head coach Eric Van Patten. “That’s the deal. You don’t stop until the very end.”

Bear River and El Capitan open their best-of-three series today at noon at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi. Game two is set for Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User