The Southern Humboldt 76ers lived up to their billing as the county’s best team in their division and won the American Legion U-17 District 1 Championship July 21 at Newburg Fields in Fortuna. The 76ers sailed through the tournament bracket winning three straight games, beating all three of the other teams in the conference on their way to the title.
Southern Humboldt represented the district by attending the Northern California American Legion Area Tournament in Chico. That tourney started last Wednesday and before the end of the weekend an area champion was crowned. The results were not available by deadline for the Redwood Times.
The challenge for the 76ers will not only be some tough competition, but also the team will not be 100 percent intact as prior commitments prevent some of the players from attending. In fact only eight original members of the team could commit to the trip, additional players will come from the Southern Humboldt Patriots.
The district tournament opened July 19 with a pair of games and the Eureka Falcons nipped the Northern Humboldt Knights in the opener by a 9-6 score. Each team scored a single run in the first inning and the game was close throughout as the Falcons scored four runs in the fourth inning and the Knights answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth frame. The Falcons finally put the win in the bank by scoring two runs in the seventh and final inning. Brendan Fischel led the Falcons at the plate with a double and three runs batted in.
As close and entertaining as game one was, game two was even more so as the Southern Humboldt 76ers took on the Southern Humboldt Patriots.
What started out as a pitching duel between the 76ers Riley Jones and the Patriots Myles Borgelin changed, as things got a little wild in the third inning. The Patriots batted through the order in the top of the inning to jump to a 4-0 lead. Two Patriots reached via the base-on-balls in addition to two more batters being hit by a pitch, solid singles brought home runs.
The 76ers came back manufacturing two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. 76ers starter Riley Jones gave way to reliever Max Betts but a tight strike zone proved to be a frustration for both pitchers during their stint. The Patriots broke through once again in the fourth inning after loading the bases and delivering RBI hits and two RBI bases-loaded walks.
The fire was put out by hard-throwing 76ers reliever Jayce Brown. The 76ers answered as three straight walks to open the bottom of the fourth were followed by a bases-loaded hit from Miguel Meras. They pulled back to a 7-5 deficit before the third out was recorded.
The Patriots threatened in both the fifth and sixth innings but could not add to their advantage. The 76ers retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Nolan Stokesberry came through with a bases-loaded two RBI single that tied up the game.
Patriot starter Myles Borgelin finished a fine performance with four and two-thirds innings pitched and he gave way to reliever Tyler Janowski who finished the game. The Patriots had a couple of miscues on defense late in the game and the 76ers scored the winning run without a hit in the inning. 76er Jayce Brown got the win on the mound and Bryant Head came in for the Patriots final at bat and faced four batters, getting three strikeouts, winning it for the 76ers 8-7.
Day two saw the Patriots eliminated from the tournament after losing to the Knights 8-6. It was another game that saw the Southern Humboldt Patriots enjoy a lead they could not hold on to. Patriots Kokko Figueiredo went 3-4 at the plate with a double and run scored, Dylan Lourenzo hit 2-4 and scored a run.
Colton Stokesberry, Aiden Morris and Tyler Janowski each had RBI hits and Garrett Wiley hit 2-3 and scored a run. Lourenzo and Janowski shared the pitching duties as Dylan started and went four innings, Tyler finished the game throwing three innings.
For the Knights, Cole Davis started on the mound and went three innings, Jake Rohn and Nick Thomas threw relief innings with Thomas getting the win. Knights hitting was led by Craig Broadman’s double and RBI, Lucas Brittain scored two runs and drove in another, and Wyatt Tucker scored twice. _
The 76ers had the luxury of having two ace pitchers well rested for the Friday and Saturday games and sure enough, Southern Humboldt’s Hokeem Sadon threw a fine complete game on Friday to shut down the Eureka Falcons. Sadon threw just 99 pitches over seven innings, allowing just five hits and recording 11 strikeouts.
Eureka starting pitching was chased early and the 76ers jumped to an early lead before reliever Wyatt Eglian settled down and had a fine outing in a losing effort. After jumping to a 6-0 lead after two innings Eglian kept Southern Humboldt off the board the rest of the way but the 76ers bested the Falcons 6-1.
Sadon led the 76ers going 3-4 at the plate with two runs scored. Jayce Brown went 2-4 with four RBIs and Chance Tindall hit 2-4 with an RBI. Eureka Falcon’s Brendon Fischel hit a 6th inning double and Cole Moody drove him in with a long single to centerfield.
Saturday saw the Northern Humboldt Knights eliminate the Eureka Falcons with a convincing 7-1 victory. Hunter Calvert started on the mound for the Knights going four innings, Brandon Baca pitched the final three frames and got the win in relief. That came about because the Knights tied up a low scoring game at one apiece in the sixth then bust through for six runs in the seventh inning to win.
The Falcons Logan Thrap started on the mound and threw well for his six-plus innings. Cole Moody went 2-3 for the Falcons, Noah Davis (2B) and Tommy Brown each hit 1-3 in the loss. The Knights were led by Lucas Brittain who went 2-4 with a run scored. Northern Humboldt moved on to face No. 1 seed Southern Humboldt in the title game on Saturday afternoon.
Once again starting pitching set the scene for the 76ers. Southern Humboldt’s Bryant Head kept the Knights at bay, striking out five in the first two innings of play. Northern Humboldt’s Wyatt Tucker also threw well and kept the 76ers off the board for awhile.
Though the game was tied midway through the third inning at one apiece, slowly the 76ers started putting the game away. Four runs in the bottom of the inning, a single run in the fifth and three more in the sixth frame and the game was called at 9-1 for the 76ers.
Southern Humboldt’s Chance Tindall went 3-3 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored, Miguel Meras hit 2-3 with an RBI and run. Bryant Head, Max Betts (2B), Jayce Brown, Sean Stock (2B) and Coleton Betts each got timely hits and RBIs. Head dominated the mound, getting several strikeouts and letting his defense do the rest.
Northern Humboldt head coach Todd Morris was pleased his young team earned a berth in the title game, “It was a fun year, Tucker’s just a freshman and a good player, he kept us in the game for awhile,” said the Knight’s leader.
Northern Humboldt’s Craig Broadman got the team’As only RBI with a single. Teammates Joe Bain, Ryan Ellena and Lucas Brittain also had singles. As for the Southern Humboldt 76ers, they move on to the area tournament with players missing.
”Basically the last month we have been rotating our 12 players in different lineups practically every game,” said 76ers’ head coach Kellen Maynard. The 76ers started with 14 players at the beginning of summer, then dropped to 12 active on the roster; still, it’s been hard as often players would be there one night only to not be able to make it for the next game. Nevertheless, the 76ers have had a very successful summer and will go to the area tournament with a good measure of momentum on their side.
PHOTO BY MARK LOURENZO/BEACON
Members of the Southern Humboldt 76ers pose for a group picture after winning the American Legion District 1 U-17 Championship Saturday at Newburg Fields in Fortuna. The team, coached by Kellen Maynard also participated in the Nor-Cal Area Tournament in Chico.