Southern Humboldt 76ers win District 1 Championship

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Southern Humboldt 76ers came through when it counted and went on to win the American Legion District 1 Tournament Championship this past weekend at McKinleyville High School. The Sixers took the tough route to the title, overcoming player shortages and a tourney loss before clinching the title with their best performance in weeks. The 17-years-and-under District 1 Tournament started out with a tight contest on July 18 with a 76er 5-4 win over the Northern Humboldt Tigers. In that win, Sixer batters Cole Moody and Cade McNamara each went 2 for 4 with Moody roping a double with 2 runs scored and McNamara smacking a triple and 2 RBI's. Ryan Ayers hit 2 singles and Jacob Reid went 1 for 4 with 2 RBI's.

The host Northern Humboldt Knights earned a forfeit win over the Southern Humboldt Patriots as they failed to field a team for the weekend and were out of the tournament. The night game on July 19 saw the Knights get the best of the 76ers, 4-3. Southern Humboldt scored two runs in their final at bat, but could not deliver the tying or winning runs. Kokko Figuiredo and Cade McNamara each delivered two hits, Troy Langley and Jacob Reid each went 1 for 3 at the plate. Sixer starting pitcher Myles Borgelin took the loss despite a strong performance.

In a game where runs were hard to come by, Dante Salazar, Michael LeFuel and Colin Cossolotto reached and scored critical runs for the Knights. Northern Humboldt's Jonas Lindblom got the win with a complete game on the mound. On July 20 the 76ers faced elimination with one more loss and took on the Tigers in a rematch. Southern Humboldt bounced back with a win in that contest, but were still not playing their best ball. The team committed five errors and only one Tiger run was earned. The Sixers held on for a 9-5 as Kokko Figuiredo got the win in a complete game performance with 5 strikeouts. Daniel Teasley (RBI and run scored) and Troy Langley (3 runs scored) each went 3 for 4 at the plate. Riley Jones (3 RBIs) and Cade McNamara (2B and 2 runs scored) each had two hits and Nolan Stokesberry went 1/4 with an RBI.

Still facing elimination, the 76ers faced the Knights in the July 20 afternoon game. Southern Humboldt faced an early deficit as Northern Humboldt scored five runs in the first inning off erratic 76er pitching. There was an batter hit by a pitch, two straight singles and two walks issues to open the Knights initial at-bat. Southern Humboldt was already facing a player shortage with individuals quitting the team and players being out of town, so a couple of Patriots stepped up to fill in. Patriot Zach Rocha was called in to pitch multiple innings for the Sixers and proved to be a spark for the team with some defensive plays, runs scored and a stellar effort on the mound.

The 76er offense came to life and Southern Humboldt regained the lead scoring seven runs in their first two at-bats. Still it was anyone's game as the contest entered the late innings. Northern Humboldt tied the game in the top of the 4th at nine runs apiece, then Southern Humboldt scored a single run in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-9 lead. From the bull pen came 76er reliever Nolan Stokesberry who delivered three shutout innings of work to preserve the score and the win for Southern Humboldt. Cade McNamara went 3/4 with 3 singles and 2 RBI's, Colton Stokesberry hit for 2/3 with a double and RBI. Kokko Figuiredo, Troy Langley, Daniel Teasley, Cole Moody and Jacob Reid all came through with big base hits for the team.

The journey was not done quite yet for the Sixers, despite the exciting win over the Knights. On July 28, the two teams had to come back and do it all over again. Southern Humboldt had squeaked through to the championship game and still had ace pitcher Riley Jones available for the start against Northern Humboldt. With the title on the line, Jones went to work and shut down the Knights with a complete game, no hit performance. Jones induced ground ball after grounder and the defense turned the plays behind him. The 76er offense exploded and the result was a anti-climatic 12-1 win in 5 innings. The lone Knights run was unearned.

Daniel Teasley went a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate with a double, Troy Langley went 3 for 4 with a double and Colton Stokesberry hit 2 bunt singles and a ball that came just feet from a being a home run, but got a sac fly for the effort.

"We got back to playing to our potential and playing our game," said victorious Sixer head coach Kellen Maynard. "Riley did a good job of keeping the ball down and our defense did well behind him today."

With a district championship in hand, the Southern Humboldt 76ers headed south this week to Fairfield to compete in the American Legion Area 1 Tournament. The opening opponent was to be Susanville on Wednesday evening, beyond our deadline.

Photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Southern Humboldt 76er 3rd baseman Daniel Teasley makes an acrobatic stab at a hard-hit ball before throwing on to second base for a forced out. The action took place at the American Legion District Tournament on July 20 in McKinleyville, which saw the Sixers fight back from a Friday night loss to win the District One Championship with a stirring win over the Knights.

2. Southern Humboldt baserunner Zach Rocha slides safely into home plate as Northern Humboldt catcher Dillon Calvert pulls in the ball just a little too late for a tag. Rocha was last-minute replacement courtesy of the Patriots for the roster-short 76ers and was a key player in the Sixers thrilling 10-9 win over the Knights on Saturday's semifinal game at McKinleyville High.

Submitted photo

3. The Southern Humboldt 76ers captured the American Legion District 1 Championship (17 and under division) this past Sunday with their 12-1 win over the Northern Humboldt Knights in the title contest.