By Ray Hamill — The Humboldt-Del Norte League is full of Renegades, as well as friendships that will likely last a lifetime.
That’s one of the best things about playing sports, especially at a young age, and it’s something that was apparent on Saturday when St. Bernard’s hosted South Fork in a key doubleheader.
The two teams are neck and neck in contention for this year’s Little 4 title and big rivals on the field of play, but many of the players remain best friends off it, as well as being summer teammates for years.
The St. Bernard’s trio of Hunter Davis, Caleb Ruiz and Lane Thrap, in fact, have been playing alongside South Fork’s Cooper Scott, CJ Van Meter and Cody Wyatt for several years.
All six players were teammates four years ago on the Renegades, a local all-star team that traveled to compete in the Spring Championships in Arizona, a prestigious spring training tournament.
That was before any of them had ever even played a high school game, and four years later all six are now involved in a thrilling championship race.
Every other player on that Renegades team has gone on to star in high school, and all 12 players should be all-league selections this spring.
You could argue, in fact, that Renegades team featured the top player on five of the current nine H-DNL teams, and two others that would be in the mix on their teams as well.
The all-star lineup featured the dynamic Arcata duo of Jaden Gorge and Merick Sears, two of the best pitchers on the North Coast, as well as McKinleyville’s inspirational Cameron Saso, an outstanding all-around talent.
Eureka’s Brady Munson and Fortuna’s Dylan McNeill are each also enjoying standout seasons with their teams, with Munson coming off a big showing in Friday’s doubleheader sweep at Del Norte.
And rounding out that dream team of young all-stars was Ferndale’s Landon Gomes, a junior and arguably the most talented baseball player of them all.
Interestingly, that photo was taken one week after many of those players had played against each other in basketball at the Crescent City Jaycees tournament.
You gotta love local sports.