Eel River Stars win district softball title

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Eel River Stars softball team captured the District 26 Major Division Tournament of Champions in dramatic fashion last week, as they broke a tie ball game in their final at bat to top Redwood Empire 10-9. The Stars were playing from behind most of the game, but came back in the late innings to tie the score twice before the final inning heroics won it. Both the Eel River Stars and the Redwood Empire Braves had to win multiple games to get to the finale and did so in a loaded bracket. Eel River earned a first round bye, then faced and beat Klamath Trinity #2 in the second round. The winning pitcher was Sheriah White and the final score read 8-6.

The semifinal matchup pitted the Stars against the team from McKinleyville, another high scoring game ensued but once again, Eel River came out on top by the score of 11-7. Vanessa Duncan was the starting and winning pitcher for the Stars and it was on to the championship game. Redwood Empire also received a first round bye on the other side of the bracket and downed Del Norte #2 in the semifinals to gain berth in the title contest. Redwood Empire opened the game with a single run in the top half of the first inning. The lead was short lived as Eel River evened the score in the bottom half on the inning on a base hit by Vanessa Duncan and a RBI single by Sierra Stock. Redwood Empire played small ball in the second inning and pushed across another run before Eel River pitcher Sheriah White shut down the threat with three straight strikeouts.

The score remained at 2-1 until the top half of the fourth when Redwood Empire combined two base-on-balls and a hit batsman with a booming triple to the outfield fence, the Braves lead jumped to 6-1 before the third out was recorded. Eel River wasted no time and responded in the bottom half of the inning with six base hits and once again tied the game at six runs apiece. The 5th inning saw more dramatics as the Braves scored a single run and the Stars tied the game then took the lead on a RBI double by Sheriah White. The sixth and final inning saw Redwood Empire scratch out a run that tied the game before Eel River recorded two outs on the base paths to end the threat. The Stars final at bat started with a Madisyn Letter single and two batters later she scored the winning run on a fielders choice. Redwood Empire got an out at first but Eel River got the run for the 10-9 victory.

Stars pitcher Sheriah White stayed strong for a complete game victory. Though the walks she issued were almost her undoing, her 11 strikeouts saved the day. The Eel River defense also came through including a three up, three down 3rd inning and the two tag outs on third and home plate in Redwood's final at bat. Hitting stars were Vanessa Duncan who went 3 for 4, as did Madisyn Letter, Sawyer McCanless hit 3 for 3, the only out she made was the fielders choice that was the game winning RBI. With no substitutes on the bench, every member of the Eel River Stars team found a way to contribute to the win. The team's head coach Jesse Duncan and the girls celebrated the championship after the walk-off win.

So Humboldt hosts 76ers' American Legion Tourney

The Southern Humboldt 76ers played host to an American Legion (under 17 years division) Tournament at Newburg Park, Mel Berti Field this past week that brought in some high level, out of town talent as well as the local teams. One team pulled out of the 76ers Summer Invitational at the last minute however, with seven teams in attendance, the competition was still entertaining. In the first days of the tournament the Northern Humboldt Knights beat the Eureka Falcons in a tight contest, 7-6.

The Redding Cobras ran off three straight wins over local teams, besting the Southern Humboldt Patriots 15-1, beating the Eureka Falcons 11-8 and the No Humboldt Knights 11-3. Meanwhile the host 76ers split a double-header, winning 10-2 over Red Bluff, but coming up short to Redding 10-6. Hokeem Sadon was the winning pitcher versus Red Bluff, pitching a complete game with eight strikeouts. Saturday saw a full complement of games as the Redding Diamondbacks beat Red Bluff 12-4 and topped the 76ers 12-7.

Your So Hum 76ers lost a tough one to Red Bluff 5-4 and in a battle of local teams, it was the So Hum Patriots over the Eureka Falcons in a shootout 11-9. On the tournament's final day (Sunday) Red Bluff eliminated the Eureka Falcons with their 7-4 win and the Diamondbacks ousted the local Patriots by a score of 14-2. The 76ers gained berth to the championship game virtue of their 12-4 win over local rival, Northern Humboldt. Riley Jones and Max Betts each pitched three innings with Jones starting and earning the win. It was a tight game until the 76ers put it away in the sixth inning. In that win, Bryant Head hit 3 for 4, all singles, Jayce Brown, Coleton Betts and Zach Zerlang each went 2 for 3 with multiple RBIs. Chance Tindall's lone hit was a double, Nic Gardner went 1 for 2 with a walk and Max Betts hit 2 for 4 with a double.

The pitching depleted 76ers then faced a very tough Redding team in the tournament finale and came up short10-5. Redding averaged two runs scored in each of the first five innings while Diamondback pitching shut out the 76ers until the 4th frame. Max Betts hit 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs, Nate Miller smacked a double, Nolan Stokesberry's base hit brought home a run and Christian Mello went 1 for 2. Sean Stock pitched well in relief allowing just one hit in two innings of work. The 76ers sport a record of 9-7 after the tournament. It will be busy at Newburg Park this week as the 76ers play the Eureka Falcons on today and take on the Northern Humboldt Knights on Saturday at 10 a.m. The Patriots travel to Eureka to take on the Falcons at Redwood Fields on Saturday and return home for a pair of games on Sunday.

photo caption:

Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

The Eel River Stars captured the District 26 Tournament of Champions Majors Division Title last week with their thrilling win over the Redwood Empire Braves. The game went down to the last inning when the Stars broke a tie in their final at-bat and won 10-9. Winning pitcher was Eel River's Sheriah White, the Stars head coach was Jesse Duncan.

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