By Ray Hamill — A great weekend for the local All-Star teams got even better on Sunday, when the McKinleyville 12-year-olds became the third Humboldt County team to reach a Section tournament championship game.
The Mack All-Stars comfortably defeated Chico Central 9-1 at Hiller Park, improving to 2-0 in tournament play and advancing to Tuesday night’s championship round.
Rhythm Green dominated on the mound for Mack, throwing four innings of one-hit ball for the win.
Green had five strikeouts and allowed just one Central batter reach base, while getting plenty of help from his defense, particularly the infield.
Shortstop Joe Tanno, second baseman Bode Reininger and first baseman Hunter Carper all made crucial plays at different times.
Tanno and Carper also had big days at the plate, with the latter setting the tone early with a two-run home run to center field in the bottom of the first to open the scoring.
Carper was walked intentionally twice after that, but made Central pay by scoring after one of those walks to give Mack a 7-0 lead in the fourth.
Tanno had the hot bat on the day, finishing 3-for-4 with a triple and two doubles and scoring twice.
Lucas Jones also had a big day at the plate, coming in off the bench in the third inning and having an immediate impact.
Jones finished 2-for-2 with an RBI double and a run scored, as well adding a stolen base.
Jake Brunner also had two hits and scored a run, while Lincoln Hungerford had a single and an RBI.
In addition to his strong defense, Reininger scored two runs, while Cody Wilson had a hit and scored a run, and Tate Saso added an RBI sac fly.
Carper pitched the final two innings to help seal the win.
The win was the sixth in six games for local All-Star teams at their respective Section tournaments this weekend.
On Sunday night, the Redwood Empire 11s (2-0) will play in a championship game in Yuba City, while the Mack 10s (2-0) will also play for a championship at their tournament in Yuba City on Monday night.
The Macks 12s will now have a day off before playing for their Section championship at Hiller Park on Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m.
If any of the three local teams lose their championship showdown, they will get a second chance the following day in what are double-elimination tournaments.