Trio of titles
The future of Bear River baseball is in good hands.
The Bear River Major-division All Star team capped off District-11 play Wednesday at home with a 5-1 win over Rocklin to earn its first-ever D-11 title – but it’s also the third banner a Bear River team earned this week, as the 9-10-year-old and the 11-year-old All Stars also won district crowns.
In the previous two games of the series, which Bear River and Rocklin split, both teams revealed bats worthy of the championship, combining for 29 runs scored. So on Wednesday, all attention was turned to the teams’ pitchers to see how they would handle themselves.
Ryan Sawyer picked up one strikeout in each of the first four innings on the mound for Bear River and added two more in the sixth. But it was Bear River’s defense that made it possible for Sawyer to hold Rocklin to one run in his complete-game performance.
“I knew that if it was hit they would make the play,” Sawyer said. The defense wasn’t the only thing leading to Sawyer’s confidence coming into a game where his team faced elimination, however.
“I wasn’t worried,” he said. “Because I shut them down last time.”
Last time was game one of the series, when Sawyer stepped onto the mound trailing 4-1 and helped lead his team to the eventual 13-7 win.
Not all of the credit is due to Bear River’s defense, though. The offense totaled 13 hits, seven better than Tuesday’s total.
Jordan Beskeen was big with the stick again for Bear River, batting 2 for 2 with a pair of singles and an RBI. Sawyer contributed offensively as well, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. Two others went 2 for 3, including Zach Welz, who also had an RBI, and Morgan Juric.
Also with hits in the game were Nolan Lewis, Brandon Fry, Chris Wermes, Connor Casey, Anthony Ertola, and Peter Hendrickson.
According to Bear River coach Jim Kastanes, Hendrickson’s second-inning bunt, which scored a run to move the early lead to 2-0, was a key to building his team’s momentum. Since the tournament began, Hendrickson has had three bunts, all of which Kastanes says were as important as Wednesday’s.
After scoring two runs by the end of the second, Bear River scored one in the fourth and two more in the fifth before knocking off Rocklin for the first time in team history.
“We set the standard this year,” Kastanes said, adding that his team still has further to go. He expects that standard to be raised even higher before all is said and done this summer.
“We’ve got a couple levels we can go up,” he said.
On Friday, Bear River has a chance to go up another level when it meets the champion of District 5 at the West Sacramento Little League field at 6 p.m.
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