Prep baseball: Lopez, Belding spur Bear River past league foe Lincoln
Special to The Union
The bats were hot for Bear River through six consistent innings in Thursday’s home game against Lincoln, as the Bruins downed the rival Zebras, 8-4.
Junior Matt Lopez led the way with four hits in as many at-bats, including a solo shot home run and four RBIs.
“If the bats can stay as hot as they were today, I think we will give every game our best competition. You control the game from the mound, but you win the game with the bat,” said Bear River coach Eric Van Patten. “These guys were told we want to produce one run every inning. That’s our goal, and they did that job with their bats.”
Lincoln would take their only lead of the afternoon early, using a single and two walks in the first inning to load the bases for Robbie Higgins (1-for-3), whose double knocked in two and drew first blood for the Fighting Zebras.
But the Bruins wasted no time in responding. A sac fly from starting pitcher Bear Belding drove in lead-off man Dayton Anderson (2-for-3 with two steals), and the home run from Lopez allowed Bear River to even the score in the bottom of the first.
Whereas Lincoln’s offense sputtered after their first chance to bat, Bear River continued to plug away with a two-run third and three-run fourth that put the game away. Belding also drew praise from Van Patten for his pitching, as the right-hander did well in stifling Lincoln. He allowed only two runs in five-plus innings, giving up three hits in all.
“We commanded the game from the mound. Bear Belding did a fantastic job. And then the contribution defensively … which for us is a good turn of events against a great club like Lincoln. When we’ve faced them the last two times, we’ve had a fall-apart inning, but not this time. We hung together,” said Van Patten.
Bear River lost to Lincoln during their previous two meetings this season; 11-2 earlier in the month and 11-4 on Tuesday. The win was an important one for the Bruins, who are hoping to stay competitive in the Pioneer Valley League.
“It’s extremely important (to win against Lincoln). We’ve got to stay close to (Placer and Lincoln), we can’t get further then where we are right now. It keeps us right in there with Colfax, who always gives us a hard time. I think four of the six teams in the PVL are going to be shooting it out for the playoffs and I’m excited to be in that mix,” Van Patten said. “We have a special group of players here … and I love coaching them and love being on their team.”
With the win, the Bruins move to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in league play while holding off Colfax from the third spot in the PVL standings. Lincoln, which currently sits second behind Placer, falls to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in league for the year.
Spencer Kellar is a free lance writer that contributes to The Union regularly.
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With a balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort, the Nevada Union football team went on the road Friday night and knocked off Napa, 33-14