Chester captures co-league championship; in CIF playoff May 16
By Mari Erin Roth
The Chester High School Volcanoes have won their way to CIF playoffs and pointing their sights toward the competition against the Biggs Wolverines on the Chester home field diamond May 16 at 4 p.m.. “The team progressed after a 3-4 start early in the season given the terrible practice situation and struggling with many cancelled games,” said returning assistant CHS baseball coach George Wellman. “The Vols current record is 11-4, the result of an 8-game winning streak.”
Co-league championship game May 9
The contest that put the Vols “in the game” took place May 9 as the Volcanoes faced their local rivals, the Quincy Trojans. The game was just the third home game on the Chester diamond due to the long-lingering 2023 winter. The Vols lost to Quincy early in the season, March 17, by a score of 10-0. On May 9, it looked like the re-match might result in another victory for the Trojans. CHS was down 5-2 at the end of the first inning. Perhaps it was a home team advantage and the presence of loyal Chester fans, but the tide turned for the Volcanoes in the fourth inning. “The Volcanoes and Trojans played a hard-fought game to determine the league championship,” said Wellman. “Quincy came into the final league game with a 7-0 record, CHS stood at 6-1. CHS’s lone (league) loss was to the Trojans back in March.”
After struggling in the top of the first inning (giving up 5 runs, 1 which was earned) starting pitcher Lucas Klimek settled in and held the Trojans scoreless for the next 2 and two-thirds innings. Connor Barr relieved Klimek with two outs in the fourth inning.
Chipping away at the Trojans 5-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st, the Vols pushed 2 runs over and added 1 run in the 3rd inning. Volcano pitchers Klimek and Barr combined efforts to hold the Trojans to no runs in innings 2-4. In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Volcano fire burned hot as they took a 7-5 lead over the Trojans by scoring 4 runs. With 3 innings remaining in the game, Barr denied the Trojans any runs in innings 5, 6, and 7. The game ended with Chester winning 7-5 and taking a share of the league championship. CHS and Quincy ended league play with identical 7-1 records.
Batting for the Volcanoes, Barr continued his timely power hitting going 2 for 4 with a double and scoring a run. Klimek hit a double and walked once, scoring one run. Freshman Caiden Clark contributed 2 hits and scored twice, continuing to enhance his team leading batting average. Kooper Clark scored 2 runs on a hit and walk. Jax Holland walked and scored a run to round out the scoring. Klimek, Kooper Clark, and Chase Clark contributed one RBI each.
Earlier in the season
“The Vols struggled through an early season 3-4 record for their first 7 games, but in the last few weeks have strung together 8 straight wins,” said assistant coach Wellman. “The streak began with a single game win against Redding Christian on April 18, followed with doubleheader sweeps of the Burney and Portola teams in late April.” All games to that point in the season were on the road due to the CHS diamond being covered in snow and ice. Slowly the weather warmed up and the Volcano team and CHS staff worked diligently to prepare for the last two regular season games on the CHS home park. “And it did happen!” said Wellman. “The Vols hosted two home games over the last week, with wins over Redding Christian and Quincy.” The home field Volcano win over Quincy secured the co-league championship with both teams finishing with 7-1 records.
Honorable to mention
During the 8-game winning streak, CHS scored 116 runs while giving up just 28. “Many players contributed to turning the season around,” said Wellman. “Among those would be senior Connor Barr contributing strong pitching, defense, and power hitting. Connor leads the team with 4 home runs, one grand slam, 20 RBI’s, 26 runs scored, a .407 batting average (BA), a .458 on-base percentage (OBP), and a .778 slugging percentage.” Barr also has a 3-1 pitching record and the second lowest ERA on the team at 3.32 runs per seven innings.
A notable freshman on the 2023 CHS baseball team is Caiden Clark who leads the team with 25 hits in 42 official at-bats. C. Clark leads the team with a .595 BA and .652 OBP, which includes 5 base-on-balls (BB’s) and 5 hit by pitches (HBP’s). C. Clark has 16 RBI’s, second only to senior teammate Conner Barr. Defensively, C. Clark anchors 1st base and leads the team with 39 put outs and additionally hasn’t committed an error the entire season with 41 total chances. Caiden’s sophomore brother, Chase Clark, is batting .348 with a .464 OBP, and like brother Caiden, has 5 HBP’s. The two Clark brothers have a combined .466 BA, .555 OBP, and 28 RBI’s.
Yet another Clark plays for the Vols, sophomore Kooper Clark, unrelated to Caiden and Chase. Kooper anchors the pitching staff with a 3-2 record and is often asked to start games against the Vols’ toughest opponents. “Kooper has a no-hitter to his credit earned in the opening game of a double hitter against Burney,” said coach Wellman. “Kooper not only contributes on the mound as his .410 and .540 batting and on-base percentages are near the top of the team averages, Kooper additionally catches many games, plays both infield and outfield, and is the ultimate hustle player and quite team leader.”
Jax Holland is a junior playing mostly at shortstop. Holland is leading the team in defensive changes at 42 with a .881 fielding percentage. He is batting .410 with a .540 OBP with a home run and 5 doubles, 14 RBIs to his credit. “As a junior, Holland is an experienced team leader with a presence and awareness of defensive situations, directing defensive sets and vocalizing player alignment,” said Wellman.
Another brothers duo is junior Lucas and freshman Grady Klimek. Together they have a combined .333 BA and .455 OBP. “The Klimek brothers bring power to the plate with a combined 7 doubles and 3 triples,” said Wellman. “Lucas is a leader on the mound with a 3-1 record. Lucas has pitched 20 1/3 innings, leading the team in that category, and is third on the team with a 4.48 ERA.”
Junior Jacob Dowling transferred to Chester last fall and brought a high level of strength and athleticism to the Vols. Dowling has a 1.0 pitching record and a 2.63 ERA which leads the team in that category. “He spent a lot of inning-anchoring in center field and a has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 13 chances with no errors,” said Wellman. Dowling is batting .444 with a .592 OBP. Jacob is second on the team with 10 BB and 3 HBP’S.
“Speaking to BB’s and HBP’S, junior Trent Tissot leads the team with a combined 15 safeties and “Taking-One-For-The-Team” statistics,” said Wellman. “Trent’s toughness in the batter’s box has allowed his OBP to rise to .500 and given the Vols many needed base runners.”
Talon Pleau is a CHS junior who returned to baseball after a two-year hiatus wrestling for Lassen High School in Susanville. Pleau progressed through the year developing a .273 BA and .467 OBP as significant and goal setting benchmarks looking toward his senior year.
Sophomore Callan Wiseman started or played in 13 of the Vols 15 games in left field without error. Freshman Carter McCann saw limited playing time but maximized his effort with a .429 BA and .636 OBP. McCann pitched well in a couple of relief appearances allowing no runs in two innings of relief, and two base hits. Another freshman, Jace Vaca, saw limited action but contributed positively to the Vols success with a .375 BA and .545 OBP. Freshman Ulysses Bugarin didn’t see much playing time but his smooth swing from the left side and developing skills bode well for the Vols future.
Final mention from Wellman, “Junior George Fellos came to the Vols as a player-manager seeking instructional development and worked hard to achieve as much playing time as possible,” said Wellman “George worked very hard in practice and was attentive and energetic to learn and improve. As player-manager George took control of all the GameChanger/MaxPreps scoring responsibility.” Taking this on is no easy task and extremely valuable to players, staff, and fans. “His efforts are commendable and of immense value to the team,” said a grateful coach Wellman.
The Vols received a bye in the first round of the section playoffs and will host the playoff game on May 16 at 4 p.m. on the CHS home diamond versus Biggs High School. Fans are welcome and encouraged to attend. If victory is for the Volcanoes, they will travel to play in the championship game May 20 at a yet undecided location. The championship competition will be with either the Etna Lions or the Loyalton Grizzlies. The Volcanoes faced Etna last year in the playoffs. A win over Biggs may give them another crack at the Lions for the 2023 title.
Burney Raiders fall to Volcano fire April 20 in doubleheader victories
In game one, CHS Kooper Clark pitched a 5-inning, no-hit, one unearned run game. K. Clark walked 2 batters and struck out 8 Raiders. Pitcher K. Clark faced 18 batters, which is just three over the minimum for a 5-inning game. “Clark had excellent control and command of all his pitches,” said Wellman. “A very efficient outing, with a total pitch count of 72.” Defensively, Jax Holland completed an unassisted double play and the Vols made two errors over the five innings played. Chester scored 4 runs in inning one, six runs in inning two and allowed one Raider run in the bottom of the inning. Chester took off in the top of the third with 8 runs, and three more runs were added in the fourth inning for the final winning score of 21-1.
Grady Klimek and Lucas Klimek both hit a triple in the game. Conner Barr, L. Klimek, Jax Holland, and Caiden Clark all hit a double. Caiden hit 4 RBIs, Barr hit two, and Kooper Clark, L. Klimek, Holland, Talon Pleau, and Chase Clark all contributed an RBI to the game. Three runs each were scored by Kooper Clark, Barr, L. Klimek, and Caiden Clark. Two runs each came from Grady Klimek, Holland, and Chase Clark. Carter McCann, Jace Vaca, and Pleau all crossed home plate to score for the victory.
Game two with the Raiders, 15-5
Game two with the Raiders started around 4 p.m. The game began with a tie of 1-1 in the first inning. The count was repeated in the second inning as the Raiders held their own for a different outcome 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning. Chester slammed the door on that idea in the top of the third by adding 8 runs and allowing none for the Raiders, 10-2. One more Vol run came in the top of the fourth, 11-2. The Raiders held the CHS team scoreless in the fifth and added 2 runs, 11-4. Neither team was permitted to score in the 6th inning. Chester rallied with 4 additional runs in the top of the 7th inning and the Raiders put one final mark on the scoreboard for the final, 15-5. It was a good game, anyway you slice it.
Volcano pitcher Jacob Dowling took the mound in relief at the bottom of the 2nd inning and finished pitching 6 innings of the 7-inning game. Dowling faced 25 batters, struck out 15 Raiders He gave up 3 runs, 1 earned, throwing 84 pitches. Defensively, the Vols turned one double play on a ground ball to Grady Klimek on the mound, to Jax Holland at first for one out, then from Holland to Chase Clark at home plate to cut down a runner for the second out. The Vols committed 3 errors for the game.
Grady Klimek and Barr both hit triples in the game. Vaca and Caiden Clark each hit a double. Two RBIs came from Barr and two from Chase Clark. Single RBIs were hit by Grady Klimek, Dowling, Holland, and Caiden Clark.
Chester baseball 11-4 overall
3/2 Williams 27-0 Win
3/3 Biggs 5-1 Win
3/17 Quincy 10-0 Loss
3/18 East Nicolaus 9-8 Loss
East Nicolaus 11-6 Loss
3;27 Loyalton 14-3 Win
4/1 Durham 14-0 Loss
4/18 Redding 15-2 Win
4/20 Burney 21-1 Win
Burney 15-5 Win
4/25 Portola 16-0 Win
Portola 12-2 Win
4/27 Greenville 15-2 Win
5/5 Redding 15-11 Win
5/9 Quincy 7-5 Win
Northern Sectional CIF Baseball Playoff game
5/16 Biggs 4 p.m.
5/20 Championship game 4 p.m. TBD
One thought on “Chester captures co-league championship; in CIF playoff May 16”
Erin, I love what you do in your writing for our Chester High School players, parents, teachers, staff, and fans over here on the west side of the county. You captured all I expected and with quality journalistic style and impartial accurate reporting. I’m impressed and thankful for what you do. Much love to you Erin!
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