By Ray Conner
The varsity Broncs baseball team opened High Desert League play this past week with a pair of games.
In the opener they were in Bishop to face the Broncos. Three days later they were at home to square off with the Desert Scorpions.
In the game with Desert, it was a strong inning that pushed the Broncs to the victory. The Scorpions were up 3-2 when Kern Valley came to bat. The Broncs scored four runs to make it 6-3 and give them their first lead of the contest. Nine batters came to the plate for Kern Valley in the fifth. Three hits and two errors by the Scorpions helped Kern Valley grab the lead.
In their next at-bats the Broncs added some insurance runs. Two hits combined with four free passes saw five Broncs touch the home dish and push the score to 11-3.
Desert added two meaningless runs in the seventh to create the final score of 11-5. Kern Valley’s running game was in high gear as they swiped eight bases in the game. Nick Thomas stole three bases, while Damon Sage had a pair of steals. Hansen, Tyler Strange, and Devon Vittoria had one each. Strange pinch ran for Blagg in the fifth inning.
Kern Valley hitting (6): Trey Bushling 2, Hansen 1, Hunter Blagg 1, Conrad Miller 1, Thomas 1.
RBIs: Bushling 2, Hansen 2, Blagg 1, Kieran McCarthy 1, Stephen D’Amico 1.
Broncs pitching: Sage, W (3-1) 5 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, Hansen (S-1), 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Head coach Mike Genthner said, “We were able to take the lead in the fifth inning with three hits and two Desert errors and then added five insurance runs in the sixth with two hits and four walks.”
Traveling to Bishop on April 10, the Broncs went up against the rival Broncos. It would prove to be a long ride coming and going as the Broncos of Bishop clobbered Kern Valley 31-1.
The Broncs were dominated in all facets of the game as they were limited to just one hit. The Kern Valley pitchers allowed 20 hits to Bishop.
The Broncs committed seven errors to their opponents’ zero. Kern Valley struck out nine times in the five inning contest that was shortened due to the run rule.
Kern Valley scored their lone run in the fourth inning. D’ Amico was walked and Miller followed with a free pass to put runners at first and second with nobody out. After two batters went down on strikes, Strange took a 1-2 offering and delivered the only hit of the game for Kern Valley. He would drive in D’ Amico to give the Broncs their lone score.
Bishop feasted on the Broncs pitching as they had 20 hits, were issued 10 walks. The seven errors extended innings and resulted in the lop-sided score.
Kern Valley used four pitchers on the day. Strange was the starter and lasted one and one-third innings. He gave up one hit, six runs, only five were earned. He walked five and struck out three.
Up next was McCarthy. He tossed two-thirds of an inning of relief. He gave up nine hits and 15 runs, in which 14 were earned. He walked three and did not record a strikeout. Hansen took the hill and pitched one inning. He gave up one hit and no runs. Hansen walked one and struck out two batters. Sage finished it off with one inning of work. He allowed nine hits and 10 earned runs, while walking one. He also did not record a strikeout.
Genthner said, “It’s safe to say that we were overmatched. They dominated us in every phase of the game. We were embarrassed.”
The Broncs (5-7, 1-1 HDL) continued league action as they played Frazier Mountain on the road on Tuesday. They will be at home on Friday when Rosamond comes to town.