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The Current

Bruin Baseball aims to hit PVL rivals one last time

Junior Nathan Van Patten and Senior Anthony Crawford raise the American flag for the Bruins’ first home baseball game. Photo by Josh Howser

Despite a dismal 2017 season, the Bear River Varsity Baseball program is looking to bounce back this year with a winning season.

With the previous 8-19 season left in the dust, the Bruins are looking to top League with an all-new roster and fresh team chemistry.

Senior Catcher and Team Captain Jake Rogers thought the team is already more bonded than they were last year.

“I feel this year we have a lot more chemistry,” he said. “I feel like we’ve bonded already and we’re just getting started. I feel like we can hit better this year; I feel like our averages will be better. I just think we’re going to be overall better.”

Johnny Calleri, a senior pitcher, has some team and personal goals that he’d like to see reached on his final season in high school baseball.

“I’m hoping and I think we’re gonna make it to Playoffs,” he said. “For personal goals, keeping my ERA [earned run average] low and trying to help the team as much as I can.”

Junior Shortstop Nathan Van Patten broke down the path that Bruins need to take to have a good Playoff run.

“I think we’ll make Playoffs,” he said. “I’m hoping we’ll place second and, hopefully, one up Placer. I think we could beat Placer. Lincoln is gonna be tough but I think we could definitely get seeded in Playoffs, and then we’ll see from there. … I think we could probably swipe one from (Lincoln). Probably second place is going to be our spot, I think, for this year.”

The Bruins are at a disadvantage this year, due to the fact that the team is smaller than normal. Last year, with a large class of senior and junior baseball players, the team had around 18 players. This year, the team is much smaller with just 13 players, including Sophomore Cole Winters who was brought up from Junior Varsity. This may lead to some issues with the Bruins’ pitching, as they will have less pitchers to use when the games start to stack up.

Even though the Bruins face this challenge, Nathan Van Patten isn’t swayed from this being the best baseball season yet.

“I think it’s going to be a good year because this year, I’d say, out of my whole entire high school career is one of the best teams I’ve been on, so I think we’re going to be competitive with both Placer and Lincoln,” he said. “You know, they’re super big schools, so I think that we’re gonna compete and give em’ a game and run them for their money.”

Because this is Bear River’s last season in the same Pioneer Valley League division as rivals Lincoln and Placer, Justin Kilgore, senior shortstop and a team captain, hoped that Bruins can leave a bad taste in the mouths of the bigger schools. 

“I think we need to leave a little memory with them, and go out there and steal a couple games from them and, especially Lincoln, go out there and win a game that nobody really expects to win and do something that hasn’t been done for the last couple years and leave them that lasting image of what Bear River really was,” Kilgore said.

Head Varsity Coach Eric Van Patten thinks the team is ready for anything coming their way this season.

“I honestly think we’re gonna do fine in all categories of hitting, pitching, and fielding,” he said. “I think we have a good synergy for our team in general and I think we’re going to compete well for League and I think all the stuff that will be challenging to us will be fine-tuning, making sure that if we kick that ball around, in an error, that we clear the mechanism, that we quickly forget that and go after the next play.”

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Bruin Baseball aims to hit PVL rivals one last time