Volcano CIF Northern Section first-place team after its championship win May 19, back row from left: Head Baseball Coach Aaron Hardesty, Garrett Feger, Michael Bereznak, Adam Branch, Tyler Davidge, Hunter Snyder, Nick Brent and Assistant Coach Shane Branch. Bottom row from left: Trenton Longacre, Jake Sarmento, Justin Burt, Justin Contreras, Leo Flores, Kameron Stelzriede and Jacob Williams. Photo by Jenn Branch

Volcanoes burn through final championship games

Senior Adam Branch pitches the final strike of the game May 15 after senior CHS pitcher Justin Burt wears the ACA Eagles down with six solid innings, two outs and two strikes in the seventh and final inning. CHS won this round-two game by a score of 3-2 to move on to the final championship round. Photo by Mari Erin Roth

The Volcano boy and girl ball players ripped through the competition during playoffs and the final championship games.

The CHS boys played against the Anderson Eagles from American Christian Academy on a stormy May 15 in Chester. Parts of the county experienced lightening and hail, but the weather prevailed through to the end for the Volcano win.

The boys had a tough time figuring out junior pitcher Connor McCoy who kept the Vols scoreless through to the bottom of the fourth inning. The visiting Eagles scored a run in the first inning and in the third. Sprinkles threatened a downpour that might end the game, but no. The Vols held tough and got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning with two runs to even things up.

Neither team was able to score to win in the fifth inning, if by chance rain called the game, and the Volcanoes held the line in the top of the sixth. The winning run was scored in the bottom of the inning thanks to a double by senior Adam Branch. A hard line defense was held by the Volcanoes in the top of the seventh to secure the win for the Volcanoes.

CIF Northern Section

Division 6 Championship

The Vols then headed off to play the Loyalton Grizzlies on May 19 at Butte College for a chance at the first-place title in the CIF Northern Section Division 6 Championship.

The Volcanoes were seeded number two and played their Sierra Valley neighbors, the number one seeded Loyalton High School Grizzlies.

Volcano senior Adam Branch led the Volcanoes from the mound, allowing zero runs, to beat Loyalton 6-0 and securing the championship top title for Chester. Facing 27 batters but not surrendering a single run on two hits over seven innings, Branch struck out six Loyalton Grizzlies.

The CHS ballplayers made plenty of solid connections with pitches from Loyalton seniors Logan Gavin (six innings) and Bowdy Griffin (one inning). A total of 14 hits left home plate launched from Volcanoes Michael Bereznak, Leo Flores, Branch, Jake Sarmento, Tyler Davidge, Justin Burt, Kameron Stelzriede and Justin Contreras.

Volcano senior Justin Burt fires one across the plate in the winning round two game May 15 in Chester. Photo by Mari Erin Roth

There was just no stopping CHS. Senior Burt hit three; two were doubles, and scored one. Burt’s three hits each resulted in a run scored for CHS. Branch hit one and crossed home plate twice. Bereznak, Flores and Stelzriede scored the balance of the winning Volcano runs.

“Adam (Branch) was selected as MVP by all the coaches in the Five Star League,” said Jenn Branch. “The All-League selections for Chester are Justin Burt, Jake Sarmento, Michael Bereznak and Tyler Davidge.”

The Five Star League also honored Chester head baseball coach and Athletic Director Aaron Hardesty as Coach of the Year. “I’m proud of the guys,” said Hardesty. “We set goals and they worked every day until we accomplished each one of them.”

Chester wrapped up its winning baseball season 20-5. This marks the second Div. 6 Championship for the Volcanoes. The first Div. 6 Championship for CHS came in 2016 when the boys’ team accumulated a 19-6 record.

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