Prep baseball: Miners, Bruins, Falcons have successful spring breaks
A trip down south was exactly what the Nevada Union baseball team needed after a sluggish start in Sierra Foothill League play.
The Miners (7-8) headed to San Diego for spring break to compete in the Lions High School Baseball Tournament where they won three-of-four games, two of which were in come-from behind fashion.
It was just the break they needed after starting the SFL 1-5.
“Being down here has been good for us,” said Ted White after a Wednesday win over Calexico in which NU got a walk-off, 2-1, win.
Nevada Union is currently in sixth place in the seven team SFL. Only Rocklin is behind NU in the standings with a 0-3 league record. The Thunder’s three league losses all came at the hands of SFL leader Oak Ridge (12-2, 6-0 SFL). Granite Bay (5-6, 2-1 SF) is in second, Del Oro (8-5-1, 4-2 SFL) is in third, Woodcreek (7-6-1, 3-3 SFL) is in fourth and Folsom (3-12, 2-4 SFL) is in fifth.
Despite the early hole, White said as long as his team competes for every out he believes they can win.
“It will be tough,” he said. “We’re not going to blow anybody out, but if we go out and compete — I mean it’s baseball — anything can happen.
The Miners have quality hitters in Dalton Maxwell, Brock Grininger, Tim O’Sullivan, Jonathan Finau, Sam Powell, Kross Corbett and the Schnitzius brothers, Andrew and James.
But they lack fire power from the mound, especially with Austin Butler set to miss some time with an injury. For now the Miners will lean on pitchers Chris Sardo, Finau, Corbett and Jordan Jannino.
“We just need to play good defense, get some guys to step up on the hill, and get some timely hits,” White said.
The Miners get right back into SFL play Tuesday with the first of three games against Folsom.
Bruins confident as back half of PVL play gets underway
Like the Miners, the Bruins have enjoyed a spring break filled with victories, taking three out of four games at the Cordova Tournament.
A solid week of play that first-year head coach Eric Van Patten said is just the spring board Bear River needed heading down the final stretch of Pioneer Valley League play.
“Confident,” he said when describing the way he feels about the Bruins’ chances the rest of the way. “Our team has made a great turn. We’ve come together to compete. Compete in every game, every out, every inning. Win or lose, we’re going to compete.”
The Bruins (10-5, 4-3 PVL) have fared well under their third coach in as many years, earning wins over league opponents Foothill, Colfax, Center and Lincoln. The win over Lincoln was a major moment for the Bruins, said Van Patten.
“That win was huge for our emotions and solidifying in our hearts that we can contend,” he said.
The Bruins currently sit tied for third place with Colfax (5-7, 4-3 PVL) in the PVL, behind Lincoln (9-6, 5-2 PVL) and first place Placer (12-4, 7-0 PVL).
“They messed us up the first time,” said Van Patten of Placer. “They are on fire.”
Bear River has been hot of late as well, winning seven of their last nine games. The Bruins are led from the plate by Bear Belding, Dayton Anderson and Matt Lopez.
“(Belding) just rocks it with the bat,” Van Patten said.
On the mound, senior Grae Golightly leads the rotation with Justin Leonard, Lopez, Tony Bianchi and Belding rounding out the Bruin pitchers.
Van Patten said he has charged his team to play with urgency down the final eight games of league play.
“We want to play with a sense of urgency,” he said. “Everything is important, every pitch, every play, every out. It’s all important.”
That urgency will be on display when the Bruins get back into league play Tuesday against Foothill.
Van Patten, who coached the Bruins’ junior varsity team last year, said he has enjoyed his stint with the varsity team and hopes to stay on for years to come.
“For as long as they’ll have me,” he said. “I like the program, I like the school, I like the administration. The way I see it, baseball is a blessing and I want to keep it a blessing and not a burden.”
Falcons start to soar at the right time
Due to the success of the boys basketball team, the Forest lake Christian baseball squad had to wait several games to get some of their best players on the field. Now that they have hung up their sneakers and put on their cleats the Falcons have taken flight.
FLC has won their last three games by a combined score of 39-7, beating Victory Christian twice and Florin.
Brothers Brett and Kyle Soria have been tearing the cover off the ball since joining the team after the basketball season concluded. Kyle is batting .538 through four games, notching three doubles and a home run. Kyle also has seven stolen bases. Brett is batting .357 through four games with a home run, a double and a triple. Also making big impacts at the plate are Kody Kennedy, Mikey Rubio and Hayden Piner.
Piner is the Falcons No. 1 pitcher and has been dominant all season, hanging up big strikeout numbers and keeping his ERA low.
The Falcons are currently in third place in the Central Valley California League, trailing Woodland Christian and Delta who both have 3-0 league records.
FLC gets back on the diamond Wednesday for a non-league bout with Golden Sierra.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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