Lincoln still in chase for league title with win over Bear River
In reaction to their first Pioneer Valley League loss to Colfax earlier in the week, the Lincoln varsity baseball team used a pair of home runs and a strong pitching performance to defeat visiting Bear River 7-1 Friday.
Isaiah Garcia and Ethan Liddle each contributed 2-run home runs on the windy afternoon.
After Kody Kencke drew a base on balls to lead off the first inning, Garcia immediately put Lincoln on the board with a jack to deep center field.
An inning later, Garcia reached first base with a two-out single. Liddle then came to the plate to add his own 2-run homer to right-center field.
“Fastball, chest high,” said Liddle, as to the location of the pitch. “It was a money shot.”
James Pallas had a solid afternoon, driving in Jake Sola and Miles Coffee with a single in the first inning. After Lincoln’s bats cooled off, Pallas drove in the only run past the second inning with a two-out single that brought in Sola.
On the mound for the Zebras was Julio Martinez. He pitched six strong innings collecting five strikeouts and allowing one earned run on five hits.
The senior pitcher’s best stretch came early. Martinez set down the first seven Bruins’ batters he faced. But he didn’t do it himself; the Lincoln defense provided two shining moments in the game.
After Bear River’s Ryan Anderson narrowly missed hitting a home run, the Bruins had runners on second and third base with one out. The Bruins’ Jake Sypnicki then proceeded to fly out to Chris Rodriguez in right field for what seemed a routine sacrifice fly.
But the alert outfielder relayed the ball into the infield and caught Anderson too far from second base to get back safely. That ended the inning with a 9-6 double play.
Bear River’s Travis Anderson had an opportunity to put up the first runs of the game with a hard-hit liner seemingly bound for the outfield fence. But an acrobatic-leaping catch by Kencke stopped the Bruins from putting points on the board.
After starting 10-0 before spring break, the team lost four of their last five games heading into Friday’s game. The Lincoln club now stands at 5-1 in PVL play and 12-4 on the season.
“This game was so big,” said Lincoln head coach Troy Petersen. “We worked after our loss to Colfax. We were too tight and taking things too personal. We just needed to relax and let the game come to us.”
Colfax – The Falcons untied the knot at the top of the Pioneer Valley League standings by defeating Lincoln 12-6.
Trailing 3-0 lead in the first inning, Colfax came back with two outs in the third inning to hit back-to-back doubles down the left field line to score two. The third came on Lincoln errors.
Pitching for the Zebras, Sola helped his own cause with a lead-off double in the bottom of the third. Coffee brought him home with a base hit and Julio Martinez singled to bring in Chris Rodriguez, who was aboard via base-on-balls.
Down 5-3, Colfax rallied for five runs in the top of the fourth aided by an error and two more doubles. That gave the Falcons an 8-5 lead they would never give up.
Sola gave Lincoln its final score on a sacrifice by Martinez in the fifth.
Sola was relieved in the fifth inning by left-hander Ethan Liddle who closed out the game.
PVL – Colfax 6-0 (10-4), Lincoln 5-1 (12-4), Placer 3-3 (7-11), Bear River 2-4 (7-10), Center 2-4 (6-9), Foothill 0-6 (4-12).
Schedule – April 10, at Bear River, April 12 at Center, April 15 Valley Christian.
LINCOLN 7, BEAR RIVER 1
Bruins 000 010 0 – 1
Zebras 420 010 x – 7
LHS – Garcia 2-4, 2r, 2bi, Liddle 2-3, 1r, 2bi, Pallas 2-3, 3bi, Sola 2-2, 2r, Kencke 1-2, 1r.