PREP BASEBALL: Nevada Union clinches playoff spot; Bear River blasts past Marysville | TheUnion.com

PREP BASEBALL: Nevada Union clinches playoff spot; Bear River blasts past Marysville

Nevada Union's Zach Erlich has 15 hits, 10 RBIs and a team-high 11 stolen bases this season.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

Nevada Union’s baseball team is playoff bound for the first time since 2006.

“They find a way to get it done,” NU head coach Ted White said of his team. “What’s nice is it’s not the same guys all the time. Everybody seems like their contributing at some point.”

The Miners clinched their first playoff berth in more than a decade with a comeback win over Rio Linda on Tuesday, rallying from a 3-2 deficit with eight runs in the sixth inning to pull out a 10-4 victory.

Nevada Union has two more against the Knights this week and will be looking to close strong and put themselves in position for a home playoff game. The Miners play at Rio Linda today and host the Knights at 4:30 p.m. Friday to close the league season. The postseason gets going May 14.

The Miners (14-11, 7-6 FVL) are currently tied for second place in the FVL standings with Ponderosa (12-12, 7-6) and Lincoln (11-11, 7-6), but hold the tiebreaker over both teams after winning three-game series’ against them. The Miners also won their series with Placer (15-9, 6-7) which sits one game back in fifth place. Oakmont (23-3, 11-2) has already locked up the league title. Rio Linda (3-15, 1-12) is in last place.

The key to the Miners success begins with their starting rotation. The trio of Nick Noll, Bennett King and Matt Deschaine have impressed from the bump all season.

“Our three starters have been unbelievable,” said White. “I mean, last week, we had three complete games. That’s huge. Our pitching coach (Larry Prewitt) has done a great job with them. They set the tempo. When they’re on, we have a chance to win. When they struggle, that’s when we struggle a bit.”

Leading the trio is senior Nick Noll, who boasts a 4-2 overall record with a 1.48 ERA and a team-best 31 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched.

“He’s just a competitor,” White said of Noll. “He always finds a way to compete and to get guys out in crucial situations. And, what I like about Nick, which is really hard for a high school kid to do, is when something bad happens, he’s able to turn the page and get right back to work.”

King has been impressive with a 2.94 ERA across a team-high 47.2 innings pitched. Deschaine is just a sophomore, but has proven the varsity stage isn’t too big, notching a 4-2 record with a 2.12 ERA across 39.2 innings pitched.

From the plate, the Miners are led by Noll, Matthew Tintle, James Nolen, Evan Hicks and Zach Erlich.

Noll leads the team in batting average (.411), home runs (3), doubles (10) and RBIs (21). Tintle is second on the team in batting average (.333) and RBIs (17). Nolen has a .312 batting average and 10 RBIs. Hicks is batting .261 with 15 RBIs. Erlich has 10 RBIs and leads the team in stolen bases with 11.

White added that strong defensive play by Nolen at shortstop and Aiden Keros at third base have been instrumental in their recent success.

“It’s been one of those roller coaster seasons for us with all the rain this year, probably the worst rain as far as it being every day, but the kids never got down,” said White. “We would be hitting whiffle balls in the gym or were taking ground balls on the football field while it’s spitting snow or whatever, but they got their work in, and they just kept after it. That’s a tribute to those guys.”

BEAR RIVER 12, MARYSVILLE 2

The Bruins roared past Marysville on Tuesday, topping their Pioneer Valley League foe by a double-digit margin.

Leading the Bear River attack was Cole Winters with three RBIs and three hits, one of which was a double. Nathan Van Patten added two hits and scored two runs. Colton Jenkins had one hit and brought in four runs throughout the game. Reid Zoldan and Damian Christen each chipped in a hit and had two RBIs apiece.

Jenkins got the win from the bump, pitching six innings and allowing two earned runs while striking out five.

Next up for the Bruins (10-13, 8-4 PVL) is another bout against Marysville (14-7, 10-2) at 4 p.m. today in Marysville.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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