American Legion

Eagles 19U beat Reno to take NorCal Country Classic


File photo – Merek Sears

Another day, another great pitching performance for the Humboldt Eagles.

This time it was Arcata’s Merek Sears who stepped up, leading the local 19U American Legion team to a 2-1 win over Reno on Saturday morning.

The win, coupled with an emphatic 15-4 early-afternoon victory over Tehama, was enough to clinch the Northern California Country Classic championship.

The four-day round robin tournament closes out on Sunday, but the Eagles have already played all five of their games and are the only undefeated team, guaranteeing them the championship.

Sears was instrumental in the tournament deciding showdown against a Reno team that also was undefeated coming into Saturday.

The former Arcata standout, who will join the Washington State program in the fall, allowed just three hits in a complete-game performance, while walking none and striking out eight.

He got just enough offensive help, with the Eagles scoring twice in the bottom of the second inning and making it count.

Jaden Gorge, Caleb Ruiz and Landon Gomes each had a hit for the Eagles, with Branson Gans and Cole Ayala each driving in a run.

Game two was a different story, with the Eagles scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the first and never appearing in any danger of losing.

Ruiz and Parker Rodgers each had a home run and a double, with Ruiz driving in five runs and Rodgers three.

Eight different Humboldt players combined for 14 hits, including two each by Gans, Corbin Eichin, Hayden Bode and Nick Dugan.

Bode and Eichin each had a double, as did Ayala.

Keenan Morris also had a hit.

Bode Joyner got the win on the mound, pitching 3.1 innings.

The soon-to-be St. Bernard’s senior allowed two hits and three walks, while striking out seven.

Gans pitched 1.2 hitless innings in relief, walking none and striking out four.

The Eagles won despite a somewhat sloppy day defensively, with eight errors over the two games.

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