Broncs top Cal City to secure second place in league

Story by Ray Conner

The Kern Valley varsity baseball team was on a mission, and they would complete it in late inning fashion.

Making the trip to Cal City, the Broncs knew what lay ahead of them, win and they were runners-up in the HDL. If they lost, they would be saddled with third place.

The first two innings saw the Ravens take the early 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the Broncs came to bat in the top of the third. With one out, Cameron Thomas laced a double to put himself in scoring position. Ethan Stockwell did not waste any time tying the game at 1-1. His single drove home Thomas and went to second on the throw home. A balk pushed him to third. Jordan Mead’s ground out put Kern Valley in the lead at 2-1. 

The Broncs added single runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to make the score 4-1. Cal City produced a rally as they scored three times to knot the game at 4-4. It was Kern Valley’s turn with the bats and they were able to put some hits together and put the game firmly in their hands. 

The Broncs sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning as they tallied six runs. Once again, the rally started with one out. Cal City’s defense suffered a meltdown as they committed four errors in the inning. The Ravens pitchers didn’t help themselves as they walked three batters and plunked a third. Only one hit was allowed, but when the dust settled the score was sitting at an affirmative score at 10-4.

Cal City responded with two runs to cut into the lead, but another big inning for the Broncs put the game put of reach. Kern Valley saw five runners touch the plate to make it 15-6. The Ravens scored one run in the bottom of the seventh to create the final score of 15-7.

As a team, Kern Valley recorded nine hits. They were issued 13 free passes and were hit by pitch four times. Seth Stockwell led the team with a pair of hits, including a double. He would knock in one run. Zane Carver had one ingle that plated two runs. He drew a bases loaded walk to push one run home for a total of three RBIs. Thomas, Mead, and E. Stockwell had one hit apiece and a pair of RBIs each. Chris Lopez got in on the hit parade as he had one and also drove home one run. Zack Wargo and Carson Strange delivered one hit apiece, while Aiden Madden was credited with two RBIs.

S. Stockwell (10-1) picked up the win on the bump. He pitched five and two-thirds innings. He would allow six runs, only four earned on four hits. He walked eight and struck out nine. In relief, Madden collected his third save of the season. He tossed the final one and one-third innings, giving up one run on three hits. We walked one batter and struck out one.

Getting to this position, the Broncs had to win at Rosamond earlier in the week. The game itself was close, but Kern Valley escaped with the 7-5 win. 

The two teams battled right to the end. The Broncs began the scoring in the top of the first. They took the 2-0 lead on a bases loaded walk and a sac fly. The Roadrunners answered with two runs of their own to tie the game at 2-2.

Kern Valley grabbed the lead back in the second inning. A two-out single drove in the run to put the score at 3-2. They added a pair of runs in the fourth to put Kern Valley up 5-2. Rosamond scored once in the fourth to close the gap to 5-3. Two more runs by the Broncs in the fifth inning gave Kern Valley the 7-3 lead. The Roadrunners tried a comeback rally but were limited to two runs and the game went to the Broncs.

E. Stockwell led Kern Valley with three hits and a pair of RBIs. Wargo delivered two hits, while S. Stockwell had one hit and two RBIs. Thomas collected an RBI single in the game. Madden closed out the hitting for Kern Valley with one hit. Mead and Strange recorded one RBI apiece for the Broncs.

Wargo (7-4) earned the win by going five plus innings. He gave up three runs on two hits. He walked seven and struck out eight. S. Stockwell in relief went one and one-third innings. He allowed two unearned runs on two hits. He issued two free passes and set down two batters on strikes. Madden got the final two outs to earn a save. He was credited with two-thirds of an inning. He walked one batter he faced. 

The regular season is over and the Bronc now look to the Division V CIF playoffs. They opened as the eighth seed in the bracket. They took on Foothill Tuesday, and a win there will give them a second game versus the winner of the No. 1 seed Torres against North. That game will be played on Thursday if the Broncs advance.