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Bruins shutdown young Lincoln team

Nichols overcomes defensive errors to pick up win
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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LAKE OF THE PINES – The Bear River High softball team was already 17 days into the month before it hosted its first April home game. And despite some botched balls Tuesday, the Bruins played like they’re ready to make another run at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title. Bear River blanked defending section champ and Pioneer Valley League rival Lincoln 7-0 with solid bats and an impressive effort by starting pitcher Erin Nichol. Bear River jumped out to an early 3-0 lead behind an RBI double by Mackinze Hollister in the first inning as eight Bruins found their way to the batter’s box. They went on to post three more runs in the third and another in the fourth to force a young Lincoln team into a hole too big to climb out. “Come out early, score the three, score three in the third and it kind of put things away,” Bear River coach Duane Zauner said. “That’s what we’ve got to do. When you’re a veteran team that’s what you’ve got to do.” Nichol, who picked up the win in five innings, kept the ball down in the zone which helped her overcome a second inning in which the defense gave up three consecutive errors to load the bases with one out. She ended the inning by getting Rachael Dal Porto to fly out to left and Lacy Lewis to ground out to first to end the threat. The Bruins picked up five hits in the third inning with RBI singles from Jenny Astwood, Ashleigh Higginbotham and Rachel Last. Senior catcher Alyssa Reina continued her hot streak in the fourth inning with an inside-the-park home run. Reina, who is bound for North Dakota State next season, scorched a grounder up the middle that bounced past a diving Alexis Bliechwehl and to the wall as Reina blazed around the bases. The relay throw was bobbled and allowed Reina to come all the way home for the last run of the game. Reina led the Bruins with a 3-for-3 effort along with a RBI, three runs and a walk Bear River improved to 2-0 in the PVL and 7-4-2 overall. It will travel to Colfax today and close out the week Friday against Center in a game that could determine the league championship. “I think we all played well,” Zauner said. “We made the three errors in a row and we quit that, so that was good.”