Most Viewed Stories
Falcons fly south against Vikings
Pleasant Valley rolls River Valley 12-2
Right now, Brandon Asher is just looking for the little things.
River Valley High's first-year varsity baseball coach is in the midst of building the Falcons program into a contender on a yearly basis. He spent four years heading the RV football program and is now coaching the sport he refers to as his "passion."
The wins and losses are merely numbers on paper. Asher said he's more concerned with the way his players respect the game of baseball.
He's noticing how his players sprint on and off the field, the way they take care of the diamond every day and how they carry themselves as members of the community — learning the basics like that, he said, will pay off down the road for this program.
Every day, Asher sees improvement, but it's still a work in progress for the Falcons.
River Valley was trounced 12-2 by Pleasant Valley of Chico in a game cut short to six innings due to the mercy rule at Falcon Field on Friday afternoon.
The Vikings of the Northern Section chased River Valley starter Stuart Bradley in the third inning after touching the Falcons' senior right-hander for seven runs. The Falcons committed three errors behind him.
Bradley, junior Rickey Ramirez and junior standout T.J. Dove are the only players back from last season's squad that saw significant playing time in 2012.
"Every day, we're trying to work on getting better," Asher said. "We've got a young team and a lot of them are still making the adjustment to varsity baseball."
Coming in to Friday, Dove had almost as many at-bats (166) at the varsity level than the rest of his 17 teammates combined (173).
A third-year varsity starter, Dove is making the transition from the outfield to shortstop this season, a year after earning team MVP, A-D All-Area and All-Tri-County Conference honors.
He scored both of his team's runs on Friday and had River Valley's lone hit. He singled in the third inning and scored on Rickey Ramirez's groundout.
Dove also scored in the bottom of the sixth on another Ramirez groundout after reaching via walk.
This was the third time in River Valley's five games this season that the Falcons (2-3) have been held to one hit in a mercy-rule loss.
"We just have to pick it up with the bats," Dove said. "Our chemistry is really good right now. I think we'll eventually figure it out."
Pleasant Valley (7-2) scored four runs in the top of the first and scored at least one run in all six innings of play. The Vikings had 10 hits and gave plenty of support to junior righty Samson Abernathy, who went five innings with six strikeouts and just the one hit allowed.
Asher said he worked with assistant coach Todd Artist on putting together one of the toughest nonconference schedules in program history.
Next week the Falcons face Woodcreek and Whitney, two programs ranked in the Sacramento Bee's Top 20 poll.
"We wanted these kids to face good competition because that's the level we're trying to get to," Asher said. "Our goal is to make it back to the playoffs."