Prep Softball: Bear River’s win streak snapped in extra-inning loss to Lincoln
Special to The Union
In an early season clash of last year’s league co-champions, the Bear River softball team fell to the visiting Lincoln Zebras 2-0 Thursday.
The loss ended the Lady Bruin’s seven game win streak going into the season.
It was a defensive battle throughout, and the game remained scoreless through regulation with the breakthrough coming in the eighth and final inning. Lincoln managed three critical hits, all toward right field, which netted two runs, breaking the deadlock and securing the eventual victory.
The pitching battle was the centerpiece of the match, with last year’s league MVP Nerissa Long going head to head with Lincoln’s Alexis Sheiring. The two pitchers exchanged strikeouts and both infields kept the contest scoreless through seven tense innings.
Ultimately, despite a strong defensive performance throughout the game, the Lady Bruins couldn’t find the breakthrough hit in a rare shutout for the team.
“We got up, played well and just couldn’t get the hit,” said Bear River head coach Duane Zauner. The team struggled uncharacteristically with their hitting, however prior to the eighth inning the game seemed up for grabs with Long pitching heat to match the hot day.
“I feel bad for her, she pitched really well today,” said Zauner of Long’s performance.
Bear River now stands at 8-3 overall and 0-1 in the Pioneer Valley League, with nine league games still remaining. The consensus thought for the team following the defeat was an emphasis on hitting.
“We need to focus on hitting and staying positive,” said pitcher Nerissa Long, emphasizing the importance of staying loud in the dugout to encourage teammates.
Moving forward, the Lady Bruins will be focused on one game at a time in an effort to reclaim the league title. Much of the impetus for this resides in the positive mindset and attention to detail preached by coach Zauner after the game.
“Just one game at a time,” said Zauner. With so many league games remaining the impact of the loss appears minimal for the team’s repeat chances.
The game represented a grueling effort for Long and company on the defensive side.
Junior standout Long, who came into the game with 55 strikeouts and a 0.71 ERA remains the centerpiece of the team following last season’s MVP performance.
“I do think it is a realistic goal [to win the remaining league games],” said Long. This positivity was indicative of the team’s attitude despite the loss.
In a game that neither side deserved to lose, the Lady Bruins couldn’t quite find the victory. Next up Bear River will face Center at home on April 8.
Kael Newton is a free lance writer that contributes to The Union.
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