PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Bruins earn spot in championship game |

PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Bruins earn spot in championship game

Bear River's Taylor Bonnifield slides into third base during a playoff game against Los Banos at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton earlier this season.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

With their backs against the wall, the Lady Bruins were at their best.

The Bear River softball team earned a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game after beating Los Banos and Sierra in elimination games Friday at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton.

The top seeded Lady Bruins (28-3) had to take the long road to the championship game after falling to Sierra in the second round Thursday.

“We didn’t finish like we wanted to Thursday, So today is all smiles,” Bear River head coach Duane Zauner said after the game against Los Banos. “We talked about today being all smiles. Just let things happen. When you’re smiling you don’t let things get you down, so today we’re all smiles.”

The Lady Bruins had plenty to smile about when all was said and done Friday.

In the semifinals, Bear River got another shot at No. 4 Sierra and took out its frustrations from the night before, beating the Timberwolves 17-2.

The Lady Bruins scored six runs in the first inning, highlighted by a three-run blast by Nerissa Eason that soared over the center field fence.

In the second inning, the Lady Bruins added five more to grab an 11-1 edge after two. They would put four more on the board in the third and another two in the fourth before the game was called due to the mercy rule in the fifth.

Bear River’s Arielle Koerber earned the win from the circle, throwing 5 innings, allowing two runs and striking out eight.

From the plate, Bear River got contributions from Taylor Bonnifield (2-for-4, double), Kaitlyn Maddux (2-for-4), Eason (3-for-4, home run, two doubles, five RBIs), Koerber (3-for-3, two doubles, RBI), Kailynne Van Winkle (2-for-3, two RBIs), Danielle Crilly (1-for-2), Indyia Vierra (1-for-1, RBI), Brieana Maddux (1-for-1, RBI), Andrea Hardin (1-for-3, two RBIs), Mallory Borrego (RBI) and Gabi Royston (RBI).

In game one, the Lady Bruins got up early and never looked back as they knocked out No. 3 Los Banos, 3-0.

Eason was dominant from the circle, throwing a complete game shutout, striking out eight and allowing just three hits and two walks. Eason was also strong at the plate, ripping a two-run single in the first and adding a double in the third inning.

Bear River’s Van Winkle came up with an RBI single in the first inning. Bonnifield added a double and a run scored. Koerber (1-for-3), Crilly (1-for-3) and Brieana Maddux (2-for-3) all added hits as well.

The Lady Bruins were also very strong in the field with Van Winkle, Bonnifield and Kaitlyn Maddux all coming up with big defensive plays.

Bear River will face No. 2 seed Casa Roble at noon today at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton, and because the Lady Bruins have lost a game in the DIV tourney, they will need to beat Casa Roble twice to earn the title.

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