Summer baseball: American Legion 76ers chaulking up the wins; Eel River Little League Giants win TOCs, go on to All-Stars

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Southern Humboldt 76ers are caulking up the wins as summer heats up and the American Legion season is off to a good start. The 76ers compete in the 17 and under division of legion baseball and after Tuesday night's win at home the team has a overall record of 11-1. It was a busy stretch for the Sixers over the last week as they had a double header last Friday on the road, then a double header at home on Saturday. The Southern Humboldt Patriots are also an American Legion junior team competing in the 17 and under division and though most players range 14-15 years of age, the team has four wins to date.

On Friday the Southern Humboldt 76ers sustained their first loss of the young season when they split a double header on the road versus the Sluggers. The Sixers won the afternoon game behind the strong performance of starting pitcher Riley Jones. Jones kept the Sluggers from living up to their name and Southern Humboldt won easily by a score of 8-1. The Sluggers bats came back to life in the nightcap and won by a final of 9-6. For the 76ers it was another game on a busy schedule as they prepared to play another double header the very next day at their home park, Newburg Fields.

The Sixers took on the Northern Humboldt Tigers in game one and the game proved to be competitive for the early innings until the 76er bats hammered out a 12-4 win. Tiger starting pitcher Dylan Campbell kept his team in the game as Northern Humboldt trailed just 3-0 after three innings of ball. Southern Humboldt starter Cade McNamara did one better as he shut out the visitors through his three innings of work. Sixers Ryan Ayers (1 inning) and Kokko Figuiredo (2 innings) took over the duties on the mound from there.

Southern Humboldt got a 3 for 3 effort from Figuiredo with a triple and two RBIs. Myles Borgelin went 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI and Dylan Lourenzo hit 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored. Cade McNamara sparked the team, hitting a 2nd inning home run and finished 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs. The Tigers' Mark Wainwright hit 1 for 2 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. The 76ers faced off against their little brother in game two as they took on the Southern Humboldt Patriots.

Sixers starting pitcher Logan Thrap controlled the action from the outset and went on to throw a complete game with 9 strikeouts and just 2 hits allowed. The 76er bats came alive once more and the result was 9-0 win by big brother. Colton Stokesberry hit 2 for 3 with a base on balls and an RBI. Cade McNamara continued his torrid hitting as he went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Troy Langley went 2 for 4 with a double, Myles Borgelin hit a triple and Kokko Figuiredo hit two bunt singles. For the Patriots, Adam Kirk and Raffy Cervantes each laced a single to the outfield.

Monday night, the Sixers bested the Eureka Sluggers by a score of 6-3. Daniel Teasley got the start on the mound and the win as he threw 6 and 2/3 innings. Nolan Stokesberry came in and got the final out for the save. The 76ers followed up with a 20-0 win over the Patriots the next night to improve to 11-1 on the season. Sixer starting pitcher Jacob Reid went 5 innings, allowing just one hit and every 76er hit the ball hard according to head coach Kellen Maynard.

Looking ahead the Southern Humboldt Patriots have a home double header tonight against the Northern Humboldt Knights and then a road double header at McKinleyville on Saturday. The 76ers meanwhile will travel to Chico this weekend to take on the Chico Nuts in a four-game set. The Sixers have several strong arms to call on and with an ambitious schedule they will need the pitching -- the team has a total of 15 players on the roster. On another note, Newburg Fields will be the site for the District 1 Babe Ruth All-Stars Tournament, 14-year-old division, come July 5 and July 6. We misidentified Babe Ruth assistant coach Shannon Kelly of the Dodgers in the team picture recently; Kelly is certainly big part of the baseball success the teams have enjoyed in recent years.

The Eel River Little League Giants recently won the District's Tournament of Champions title in the A Majors Division (11-12 years), the tournament was held in McKinleyville from June 15-19. Giants starting pitcher Church Crenshaw got the win in the opener against the No. 2 Redwood Empire team. The score was 6-4 and the Giants moved on in the tourney. Round two saw a convincing 11-1 win over No. 2 Eureka, completed in five innings. The Giants bats really came alive against the McKinleyville team in the semifinal game; as Eel River won handily 18-3, it was on to the championship.

Eel River faced the Redwood Empire Angels in the title game, a team that had gone all season unbeaten. The Giants had saved staff ace Church Crenshaw for the championship game and he came through for the team. Eel River scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings and took a lead into the final at bat for Redwood Empire. The Angel bats came through with three doubles in their final chance but Crenshaw sandwiched three strikeouts between those hits and his final strike ended the game with the tying run on second base.

Jorge Johnson went 2 for 3 in the title game, cousin Orlando Johnson hit 1 for 3. Crenshaw batted near 600 average for the whole tournament, as did Morgan Melendy and Jorge Johnson. Both teams played up to the hype in the championship game and the title capped off a great season for the Eel River Little League Giants under head coach Jesse Franks.

The area Little League players have re-organized and are now in the midst of the All Star Tournament action. The 9-10 year old All-Star Tournament is being played out in Redway. The Eel River team sat at 1-1 going into Tuesday nights' elimination game. The Eel River 11 year olds are competing in the District Tournament in Cutten and the team is unbeaten so far. Saturday the Eel River team beat the Eel River "B" team by a score of 16-2. Garrett Ausp hit a home run in that win.

Sunday saw the team best McKinleyville by a 12-2 score. Landon Gomes hit a 3-run homer and both Orlando Johnson and Daeben Taylor hit doubles. The winning pitcher for Eel River was starter Dylan McNeil. The Eel River All-Stars seem headed for the championship game at the end of this week. The 12-year-old All-Stars will be starting their bracket this weekend.

Photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Southern Humboldt 76er Cade McNamara crushes an offering from the Northern Humboldt pitcher for a 2-run home run in Saturday's 12-4 win over the Tigers. McNamara was also the winning pitcher in game one of a 76er double header at Newburg Park. Game two saw the Sixers shut out the Southern Humboldt Patriots by a 9-0 score; Logan Thrap threw a complete game with nine strikeouts for the win.

2. Southern Humboldt 76er shortstop Nolan Stokesberry fields a one-hop grounder in game one of a Saturday double-header at Newburg Park. Stokesberry would record an out on the play by firing on to his brother Colton, first baseman for the Sixers. Southern Humboldt improved to 9-1 on the season by beating the Northern Humboldt Tigers and the Southern Humboldt Patriots.