By Ray Hamill — It was a summer to savor for the Klamath Trinity Little League All-Stars, who enjoyed more success than they have in almost three decades.
Both of the KT teams won games at their respective District 26 tournaments, including a third-place finish for the 12-year-olds, who won two games at the tournament for the first time since 1992.
“It was awesome,” 12s head coach Jason Reiman said. “It was great for our team. The kids have worked really hard for the last three weeks. They put in a lot of work to achieve that.”
Playing in Fortuna last week, the 12s finished 2-2, including a big 9-4 win over Southern Humboldt and a memorable 6-5 win over Arcata.
They were eliminated in their second consecutive one-run game, barely falling to Redwood Empire 5-4.
It was an impressive showing for the smaller association, which last won a district title in 1992.
“We have smaller numbers but it really shows me that if the kids are willing to work hard and pay attention and listen to the coaches, they can play baseball,” Reiman said. “There’s a lot of talent out here.”
Including catcher Mateo Reiman, whom 10s head coach Shane McCullough described as “the best 12-year-old catcher in Humboldt County.”
McCullough believes that Klamath Trinity Little League is on the rise.
“We’re in the best state we’ve been in since the early 90s,” he said. “And I’m excited about it.”
McCullough’s 10-year-olds won a game at their district tournament for the first time in a decade when they defeated Eel River 16-6 on opening day at Arcata.
Consecutive losses to Arcata (9-6) and Redwood Empire (11-1) would eliminate the team, but not before the players won the respect of their opponents.
“It was only our second victory ever as 10s,” McCullough said. “We competed with Arcata, and I knew we could compete with Arcata. With the steps we’re building, we’re not going anywhere.
“Of our 12 players, six of them every local high school would covet.”
Both KT teams featured a lot of talent on the mound.
For the 10s, pitchers Sonny Blake and Wayne King both had impressive tournaments and both brought a lot of speed to the bases.
Catcher/shortstop Colton McCullough also had a big tournament, finishing 4-for-7 with two walks, as did Kieran Yoder, who also played both catcher and shortstop.
Ace Zach Platt also impressed, as did utility player Isaac Brooks.
“He doesn’t know how good he is,” Shane McCullough said of Brooks. “He’s a diamond in the rough.”
Wayne King’s twin sister Bella King also played a key role for the team, as did teammates Brielle Weber, Thomas Blake, Joe Nix, Gunnar White and Talin Fulton.
The 12s, meanwhile, were led by Mateo Reiman.
“He absolutely led the team behind the dish,” his head coach said. “He keeps the players aware of the situation.”
The 12s also had plenty of pitching depth including Logan Hulbutta, Torin Billings, Silven Yoder, Barret Myers, Sonny White, Owen Smith and Dyani Frank.
“They pitched excellent for us,” Jason Reiman said. “All the pitchers that threw, they absolutely did dynamite on the mound.”
Their victory over Arcata was a big one, not just because it came against a traditionally stronger team but also because of an earlier loss to Arcata at the recent district tournament of champions.
“That was kind of redemption for us,” Jason Reiman said. “All-around, the team did exceptional against Southern Humboldt and Arcata.”
Delmer Ferris, Emilio Medina, Jaspyr Maloney and Kaydon Matilton each also played well for the team.
“We love playing baseball,” Jason Reiman said. “And if you’re not having fun, you might as well go home.”
Shane McCullough echoed the sentiment.
“It was fun,” he said. “And we’ll be back.”