Kern Valley beats Rebels with a walk off

Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer; Nick Thomas of the varsity Broncs swings at the offering from the opposing pitcher.

By Ray Conner
Sports Editor

Playing in their last non-league games, the Broncs earned a split.
They were taken down by Kennedy 13-3, but battled against South and won 7-6 with a walk off.

The game with South High was a see saw battle as the two teams tried to pick up the victory. It was the Broncs who got the last shot and made it work. With the score knotted at 6-6, the Broncs came to bat in their half of the seventh. Leading off the inning, Trey Bushling worked out a walk. He was lifted for a pinch runner in Conrad Miller. The Rebels pitcher was charged with a wild pitch that moved Miller to second. Tanner Tito singled advancing Miller to third. Tito swiped second to put runner at second and third. Stephen D’Amico stepped in and drove the 1-2 pitch through the infield for the game-winner.

South opened the scoring as they put up a run in the top of the first. They made it 2-0 with a run in the second. Kern Valley cut the lead in half with a run in the bottom of the second. It stayed that way until the fourth when the Rebels pushed two more runs across the plate.

Trailing 4-1, the Broncs took their turn in the fourth. They were able to close the gap with a pair of runs to put the score at 4-3. South added another run in the fifth to make it 5-3, the Broncs answered in their half of the fifth with three runs to grab the lead 6-5. Four hits, two sacrifices, gave the Broncs the lead. But it was just getting interesting. South, not to be denied, tied the game in the top of the seventh. It was then Kern Valley (4-6) made their case for the dramatic and won the game.

Kern Valley hitting: nine hits; Tito 3, Bushling 2, Kieran McCarthy 1 (2B), Spenser Hansen 1, D’Amico 1, Devon Vittoria 1.
RBIs: Hansen 1, Tito 1, D’Amico 1, Vittoria 1, Nick Thomas 1.
Broncs pitching: Hansen 4 plus IP, 1 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, McCarthy (W, 1-3) 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5K. McCarthy earns his first-ever varsity win as a pitcher.

Head coach Mike Genthner said, “This was a competitive game between two evenly matched teams. Our pitchers threw better and we were able to put some hits together. Our bunting and running game is improving, but we’re still making too many errors. In the seventh inning, Tito had a nice bunt for a hit and D’Amico came through with a two-strike game-winning single.”

Things were quite different for the Broncs when they faced off with Kennedy. Kern Valley committed five errors and allowed eight hits to give their opponents the easy win. After three and one half innings the score was close as the Thunderbirds were ahead 5-3. Kennedy came to bat in the fourth and blew the game wide open. The Thunderbirds scored seven runs to give them a comfortable cushion. The final run for Kennedy came in the fifth and gave them the win in the shortened four and one-third inning game. The Broncs offense were limited to just five hits and were set down on strikes 13 times.

Broncs hitting: five hits; Hansen 2, Thomas 1, Miller 1, Hunter Blagg 1.
RBIs: Hansen 2, Thomas 1.
Kern Valley pitching: Tyler Strange (L, 0-1) 3 1/3 IP, 6 H, 11 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 2 K. Hansen 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.

Genthner said, “We played poor defense, didn’t pitch well enough, were abused on the base paths and were overpowered by their pitcher. That pretty much says it all.”
The Broncs opened High Desert League action on Tuesday as they traveled to Bishop to take on their rival. They will be at home on Friday as the Scorpions of Desert will make an appearance on the Broncs home field.