Kern Valley stays in HDL hunt

Photo by Shawna Spradlin / Special to the Sun – Kenny Porter, No. 9, of the Broncs varsity baseball team is ready in the batter’s box in a recent game.

By Ray Conner
Sports Editor

The Broncs varsity baseball squad hangs on to beat Boron.

Earlier in the year, Kern Valley lost to the Bobcats. This game was a chance to return the favor. These two teams were also battling to stay in the High Desert League title hunt. The Broncs came into the home game sporting a 4-2 mark, while Boron was sitting at 5-1.

The Broncs got off to a great start as they scored a pair of runs in the first. Damon Sage was given the free pass to open the Broncs half of the first inning. He would swipe second to get into scoring position. After one out, Kenny Porter stepped in and delivered a run-scoring single to put Kern Valley up 1-0. He advanced to second on the throw as Boron tried to cut down Sage at the plate. With two outs, it was Spenser Hansen’s turn to step in the batter’s box. He made the most of it as his single produced the second run of the game.

The score would stay that way until the top of the third. The Bobcats tied the game with a pair of runs. With the score tied at 2-2, it was the Broncs turn to get back into the lead. Kern Valley responded by scoring one run to go up 3-2. Sage singled, but was erased on the fielder’s choice off the bat of Nick Thomas. Porter singled and Ryan Walker was hit by the pitch to load the bases with one out. Hansen once again delivered as he lifted a fly ball that was deep enough to score Thomas with the go ahead run.

Boron stayed in the game as they tied it up once more in the fourth. The score was 3-3 as the Broncs came to the plate in their half of the fourth. This time the Broncs answered with two runs to make the score 5-3. Kieran McCarthy led off the fourth with a single. He was sacrificed to second. After another out, Sage was given the intentional pass to put runners at first and second. Thomas made the Bobcats pay as he promptly singled in McCarthy.

With Sage on third and Thomas planted at first, the Broncs literally stole a run. Thomas took off for second and Sage started home on the throw through. The stolen run gave the Broncs a two-run margin they would take to the top of the seventh inning.

Boron tried to rally as they scored one run to get closer. With the score at 5-4 and one Bobcats runner perched at second, he tried to steal third only to be thrown out. A harmless fly out ended the threat and the game giving Kern Valley the win and evened their match up with Boron this season.

As a team, the Broncs collected seven hits. They were led by Porter with two. Sage, Thomas, Hansen, Tanner Tito and McCarthy had one hit apiece. Hansen drove in a pair of runs, while Thomas and Porter were each credited with one RBI.

On the bump, Sage (4-1) started and got the win as he went four innings. He allowed three runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out nine. Tyler Strange came on to earn his first save of the year. He tossed three innings of relief giving up one run on one hit. He walked one and set down three on strikes.

The Broncs with the win sit one game behind Rosamond (6-1) in the HDL standings at 5-2. Boron is also 5-2.

Head coach Mike Genthner said, “We needed this win to stay in contention for a league title. Sage and Strange both pitched well, combining for 12 strikeouts and the defense played well enough.

Hansen in the first and Thomas in the fourth both delivered two-out, two-strike RBI singles and that played huge in a one-run win. It was important to the guys to avenge our first round loss to Boron.”

Kern Valley played Desert on Tuesday and will face Frazier Mountain on Friday before playing in a tournament over spring break.