By Ray Hamill — The Humboldt Eagles 19U American Legion team finally got their season under way on Friday, and they didn’t disappoint.
Featuring a roster of local all-stars, the Eagles swept both ends of a doubleheader against the NorCal Nationals at St. Bernard’s, winning 5-0 and 12-2.
The home team dominated in just about every aspect of the game, with some outstanding pitching, plenty of timely hitting and just a single error in each game.
“I just thought we played really clean baseball,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “We weren’t out there making errors or throwing the ball around the diamond.”
Pitcher Caleb Ruiz set the tone with a dominating performance in the opener, striking out 13 batters in 5.2 innings work and holding the visitors to just one hit.
“Caleb Ruiz really kind of set the tone for us today,” Tomlin said of the College of the Redwoods freshman, who hasn’t played a competitive game since early March. “He was dominant, and the guys came out swinging the bat pretty good for the first day.”
No one more so than Bode Joyner, who led the way the plate in game two, finishing 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.
Landon Gomes and Cameron Saso each also had big days at the plate, with base hits in both games.
“A lot of guys had big games,” Tomlin said.
Saso had two hits and drove in three runs on the day, including an RBI double in the bottom of the third inning of the opener to score teammate Ethan Fischel, who had doubled to reach base.
Saso also made some quality plays at shortstop in game two.
Gomes, meanwhile, finished the doubleheader 3-for-7 with an RBI.
“I thought Landon hit the ball hard,” Tomlin said.
Catcher Parker Rodgers also impressed in the opener, on both sides of the plate, finishing 1-for-2 with two RBIs on offense, while Branson Gans was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and Zack Anderson had an RBI.
Jaden Gorge also had an impact in game one, finishing 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
In game two, Fortuna’s Cole Ayala took over at catcher and also impressed on both sides of the plate, finishing 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
CJ Van Meter got the win on the mound in game two, pitching four innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits and one walk, while striking out five.
Joyner and Hayden Bode each pitched well in relief of the starters.
“It was a good opening day,” Tomlin said.
The Eagles are scheduled to play the Sacramento Better Baseball on Saturday, in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., also at St. Bernard’s
Future Pac-12 pitchers Merek Sears of Arcata and Nick Dugan of St. Bernard’s will get the starts on the mound for the Eagles, while the Sacramento roster is expected to be loaded with Division-I talent.