Broncs varsity squad takes third at tournament

By Ray Conner

 Kern Valley varsity baseball battled to a third-place finish in the Woodlake tournament.

Initially the Broncs were postponed due to rain, but a break in the schedule allowed them to compete in the tournament. The tournament was divided into a pair of eight-team brackets. Each team got in three games. Kern Valley was able to go 2-1 and collect the third-place trophy.

They started on March 25 with a victory versus Granite Hills. Heading back the next day the Broncs fell to Carruthers. They finished up the tournament on March 27 with a win against Strathmore.

In the loss the Broncs stayed competitive, but dropped a tough game 6-5 to Carruthers.

 Kern Valley began the reconstructed tournament against Granite Hills. The Broncs were able to get the bats going in their opening inning. They tallied six runs to propel them to the 14-2 win.

Kern Valley sent 10 batters to the plate as they collected three hits and a pair of walks to ignite the offense. 

The Broncs pushed the lead to 9-0 as they added three runs in the second. Two in the third and three in the fifth gave them their 14 runs. As a team Kern Valley banged out 11 hits, including two doubles. They would swipe six bases to put pressure on Granite Hills.

On the bump, the Broncs sent Aiden Madden (1-0) to face the opponents. He would pick up his first career varsity victory. Madden would control the opposing batters limiting them to one run. He gave up one hit and did not issue a free pass. He struck out four in his three and two-thirds innings of pitching.

In relief, Cameron Thomas pitched one inning allowing one run. He walked two and struck out two. Finishing up was Jackson Price. He was credited with one-third of an inning with a strike out.

Jordan Mead led the Kern Valley bats with three hits and three runs driven in. Seth Stockwell collected a pair of hits, including a two-bagger, that knocked in two, while Carson Strange had two hits and one RBI. Zack Wargo contributed with two hits, while Ethan Stockwell plated two runs with a double. Madden helped his own cause as he recorded a pair of RBIs with a single. Chris Lopez was credited with one RBI.

In game two the Broncs squared off with Carruthers.  

  Kern Valley broke the scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the second. The 1-0 margin turned into a 1-1 game as the Blue Raiders scored a run in the third. Carruthers took advantage of wildness by the Broncs pitcher to plate four runs in the fourth to go up 5-1. Kern Valley got one back in the top of the fifth, but the Blue Raiders answered with one in the bottom of the inning. With the score sitting at 6-2, the Broncs started to mount a comeback. They added one in the sixth to make it 6-3. In the top of the seventh, Kern Valley rallied for two and had the tying run in scoring position. The big hit never came and the rally was over. 

The Broncs as a team collected 10 hits. Two of those went for extra bases. Mead was the top hitter for Kern Valley. He had three, including a pair of doubles. He was credited with two RBIs. Wargo had two hits, while Thomas had one hit and one RBI. E. Stockwell, Strange, Aeden Quezada, and Colton Carver each had one for the Broncs.

Wargo (2-3) was the starter for Kern Valley. He would toss six innings giving up the six runs. Only five were earned. He scattered four hits, but walked six batters. Wargo struck out six. S. Stockwell pitched one inning of relief. He recorded one strikeout.

Coming back the following day, Kern Valley took on Strathmore. Four innings were all the Broncs needed to grab the 18-3 win. 

The Broncs took control early and never looked back as they were playing for third place in the tournament. A 13-run opening inning fueled them to the easy victory. They batted around the line-up twice in their half of the first. Kern Valley used five walks, four hit by pitch and seven hits to jump out to the early lead.

For the game, The Broncs were issued nine free passes and were hit by the pitch seven times.

Two more runs were added in both the second and fourth innings. One run crossed the plate in the third.

As a team Kern Valley collected 12 hits, including two that went for doubles. E. Stockwell and Wargo led the Broncs with a pair of hits and three RBIs apiece. Strange and Thomas each had two hits and two RBIs, while Mead delivered two hits and one RBI. Mead and Thomas each cracked a two-base hit.

Lopez recorded two RBIs, while S. Stockwell plated one run in the contest. Zane Carver rounded out the Broncs hitting with a single.

S. Stockwell improved to 5-0 on the year. He went all four innings allowing three runs. Only one was earned. He gave up the four hits and walked two batters. He fanned six in the pitching victory.

Kern Valley got back into league mode as they traveled to Boron on Tuesday. They will go back on the road Friday to square off with Desert.