The fourth inning was the game changer for the Humboldt Eagles.

“I called them together — a quick team meeting — and that woke them up a bit,” head coach Matt Tomlin said.

Wake up, the Eagles did.

Powered by another solid outing by ace Cameron Saso, the Eagles 19U cracked the Chico Nuts 6-1 for an important win at the American Legion Area One Tournament in Woodland today. With Petaluma’s 12-5 win over Fairfield, the Eagles earned a berth into the State Tournament (the top two teams in the Area advance).

“I think the fourth inning, where we finally scored runs and put some things together,” Tomlin said on where the game switched directions for his squad. “That was the inning we went from down 1-0 up 2-1.

The fourth was also the stanza Saso hit another gear — thanks to finding his third pitch.

“Cameron Saso was the star of the day on the mound,” Tomlin began, “he really didn’t have his curveball until the fourth inning. He was strictly pitching fastball and changeup. Then, in the fourth, he found his curveball and they couldn’t touch him after that.

“He pitched like a big-game pitcher. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he went out there and got the job done.”

With their ace dealing — even before he hit his groove with the curve — the Eagles chipped away at the Nuts from the plate. Cody Emmons knocked in two runs with Caleb Ruiz racking up a ribbie. Gannon Cyphers finished 2-for-4.

The win over Chico keeps Humboldt alive in the tourney, one in which saw the team fall to Petaluma on the first day. The Eagles rallied in the loser’s bracket to top Yuba before today’s win.

“Just keep fighting,” Tomlin said of the message to his team. “Tell them ‘Never quit.’ We lost and had to fight through the loser’s bracket and, in those games, we trailed. It’s the same message: ‘Just keep competing and good things will happen.’”

The Eagles advance to what’s dubbed “Championship Monday” where the team will face Petaluma. Humboldt needs to win twice if it wants to head to the State tourney Area champs.

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