Bears shut out Willows to advance to D-IV semifinal

Kekai Ferguson led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a double, and scored what proved to be the winning run on a single by Kaden Riccomini (click image for slide show).

Kekai Ferguson led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a double, and scored the winning run on a single by Kaden Riccomini (click image for slide show).

One run in the first inning was all the Mt. Shasta Bears needed to defeat the seventh-seeded Willows Honkers (8-16) in the first round of the NSCIF D-IV playoffs, on Friday afternoon. The Bears shutout the Honkers with solid pitching from Kaden Riccomini and some strong defensive plays in the field.

Kekai Ferguson led off the bottom of the opening frame with a double to deep left-center field. Ferguson moved to third on a ground out by Gage Kinkade, and scored via a Kaden Riccomini base hit.

A double by Kole Riccomini to lead off the third inning gave the Bears a golden opportunity to add to their lead, but a strikeout and two ground outs allowed Willows to escape further damage. Mt. Shasta had runners in scoring position in five of six innings, including in the fourth when Kaimana Ferguson led off with a double. The Bears also had a runner thrown out at the plate in the 5th inning.

The lack of offensive production was offset by Mt. Shasta’s defensive efforts.

Willows’ lead-off hitter in the 2nd inning singled and went to 2nd base on a passed ball. However, Catcher Nolan Johnson threw him out attempting to steal third.

The Bears’ only error of the game allowed the first batter in the 4th inning to reach 2nd base, leading to the most serious Honker threat of the contest. The next hitter singled, making it a first and third situation with no outs. Johnson threw out the the runner from first trying to steal 2nd. The defensive play was executed well enough that the Honker on third did not attempt to head home. Mt. Shasta closed out the inning with a strikeout and a ground out, leaving the lead-off hitter stranded at third.

Willows had runners on first and second with one down in the 5th inning, but Riccomini sent one batter to the pine looking and fanned the next to end the inning.

Kaden Riccomini went the distance on the hill for the win. He allowed five hits, issued one free pass and struck out 10 Honkers.

At the plate, Kole Riccomini was 1/1 with a double and a walk. Kaden Riccomini went 2/3 with a double and an RBI. Kaimana Ferguson was 2/3 with a double. Hunter Stock was 1/2. Kekai Ferguson doubled, scored and went 1/3.

Two-seed Mt. Shasta (15-5) will host #3 Colusa (23-9) on Tuesday, May 15. The Redhawks defeated #6 East Nicolaus (9-9) on Friday 17-8.

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