Bruins on track for fourth straight title

By: Journal Sports Staff
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The Bear River High softball team found its hitting stroke Wednesday night in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs while Pioneer Valley League champion Lincoln was stunned at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton. The Bruins beat Sierra 5-0, then took down Oakdale 6-1 to advance to Friday’s semifinal. The Zebras meanwhile were eliminated from the postseason after falling to Center in its playoff opener. Bear River sophomore Erin Nichol tossed 13 scoreless inning Wednesday to lead the three-time defending section champions. In the win over Sierra, she struck out five in seven innings and had a three-hitter. Against Oakdale, Nichol struck out six in six innings before Maddie Phelps finished off the game. Courtney Edwards sparked a five-run rally in the fifth inning in Wednesday’s opener. Courtney Ceo, Katie Mathis, Alyssa Reina and Nichol followed with RBI-singles as the Bruins (22-4) put the game out of reach. Nichol was 2-for-4 and Mathis finished 2-for-3. In the win over Oakdale, Ceo got the offense going early with a single. She scored on a sacrifice fly by Mathis. Later in the first inning, Stephanie Ceo scored no a wild pitch. Courtney Ceo was 2-for-4 and Reina was 3-for-4 in the win. Bear River will face Center on Friday at 5 p.m. at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton. The winner will advance to Saturday’s championship game while the loser will play an elimination game Friday.