The first two innings of Friday afternoon’s baseball match up between the Bishop Broncos and the Kern Valley Broncs were scary close.
Kern Valley jumped out to a 1-4 lead in the second inning. Bishop was plagued with weird errors until the third inning when the real Broncos nine took the field and a 5-4 lead.
“We fielded 11 players Friday,” said coach Tim Reid, “and every one made a huge contribution. It was a total team effort.”
If the Bishop field had a scoreboard, Kern Valley would have gotten on it first. Broncs’ Josh Powell singled to first and made it home off Aaron Lafarga’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Chance Callahan started Bishop’s line up with a blast to right field that was bobbled for a Broncos single. Aaron Puls hit the ball to the same fielder for a double. Keith Tatum came on board with a single to score Callahan and tie the game 1-1.
Bishop started the top of the second inning in high style, taking out Shane Russell by a hair at first. The second out came with a Nathan Coakley catch in the outfield. Then, the inning turned brutal.
The next two Kern Valley Broncs were walked; both scored on an Austin Kennedy single that turned into a triple. Kennedy scored a run on what should have been an out at home plate. Just like that, Bishop was down 1-4.
Coakley was Bishop’s highlight in the bottom of the second. He doubled but was left high and dry when Neubauer was tagged at first for the third out.
The Broncos’ defense, fully recovered from the second inning, made quick work of Kern Valley. With Lafarga on first, Neubauer shagged a pop fly and got the ball to Puls in time to tag the Bronc runner out.
Bishop’s bats went on a scoring spree in the bottom of the third. Callahan singled, thanks to a Kern Valley error. Puls sent him home with a triple. Tatum was walked, probably a wise choice. Jared Davis’ single scored Puls; Kruse’s single scored Tatum; Doug Watterson’s single scored Davis and the Broncos had a little bit of breathing room with a 5-4 lead.
Callahan started the line-up in the bottom of the fourth with his first home run of the season, extending the lead 6-4. Bishop held Kern Valley runless in the top of the fifth, then went on a six-run tear in the bottom of the inning.
Kruse singled off a first baseman’s error; Curran Simpson came on as Kruse’s designated runner and stole second. Watterson singled. Neubauer sent a line drive down the middle for a single, scoring Simpson. Callahan singled, scoring Watterson. Puls was tagged out at first, but Neubauer crossed home plate. Tatum was hit by the ball and strolled to first. Schain Thomson slammed a triple, scoring Callahan and Tatum.
Thomson’s triple was the straw that broke the pitcher’s back; Mixon was replaced on the mound by Steven Strahl who had to face Davis. Davis hit a ground ball up the middle, scoring Thomson. Strahl retired the side when Davis was tagged out on second on a Kruse grounder. The damage was already done; the Broncos led 12-4.
Kern Valley went three up, three down and Bishop was back on offense. Cy Scott and Coakley both lead off the inning with singles. Callahan walked to load the bases. With a single, double and triple on the stat book, Puls sent Scott and Coakley home for a 10-point lead.
The mercy rule was invoked and the game ended in six innings, 14-4.
The Broncos travel to Rosamond today. Bishop is 7-0 in league, Rosamond 6-2. “Rosamond is a tough, well-coached team,” said Reid. “They’re going to be tough to beat, but we’re rolling pretty good and should be okay. The way we hit, we’re never out of a game.”
The regular season ends with a rematch at Desert on Thursday.
Tanner Kruse pitched 6 innings with 10 strikeouts, 5 his, 5 walks, 4 runs.
Chance Callahan: 3 for 4 with a homerun, 3 RBI and 4 runs.
Aaron Puls: 3 for 4 with a triple, 1 RBI
Keith Tatum: 1 for 1, 3 walks, 1 RBI
Schain Thomson: 1 for 4 with a triple, 1 RBI
Jared Davis: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
Tanner Kruse: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
Nate Coakley: 2 for 4 with a double
Doug Watterson: 1 for 3, 1 RBI
Taylor Neubauer: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
Cy Scott: 1 for 1, 1 run
Curran Simpson: 1 stolen base, 1 run