District dominance continues as Mack 12s claim Section crown

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Joe Tanno delivers a pitch on Tuesday night.

By Ray Hamill — The future of local baseball appears to be in good hands.

Especially in McKinleyville.

On Tuesday night, the 12-year-old Mack Little League All-Stars claimed their Section championship with a 1-0 win over Sutter-Butte at Hiller Park, becoming the third district team to take a Section title in just two days.

The Mack 12s join the McKinleyville 10-year-olds and Redwood Empire 11s, who each won their tournaments on Monday night, giving District 26 a clean sweep of the Section 2 championships.

Between them, the three local All-Star teams went 9-1 in Section play, and all three will now advance to their NorCal state tournaments, each of which get under way this weekend.

The Mack 12s had to battle all the way in Tuesday’s game, with Joe Tanno’s two-out run in the bottom of the fourth the only difference in what was a classic pitchers’ duel and a well-played game by both teams.

Tanno also got the win on the mound with another stellar performance, tossing a complete-game no-hitter.

The Mack standout allowed just two Sutter-Butte players reach base all night, one on a hit batsmen and one on a walk.

Check out video highlights of the final out and the Mack players’ celebrations below …

Neither of them got past first base, with McKinleyville shortstop Rhythm Green and first baseman Hunter Carper completing a double play immediately after the walk.

Tanno, who got his second win in three games at the tournament, struck out 13, including nine of the first 10 batters he faced.

He was equally impressive at the plate, finishing 2-for-2 for half of his team’s hits on the night, as well as drawing an intentional walk.

He led off the fourth inning with a double, and scored a few minutes later on a Sutter-Butte error.

With two outs, Jake Brunner hit the ball hard towards first base, and the Sutter-Butte first baseman was unable to field it cleanly, allowing Tanno to score.

Once again, the bottom of the lineup came up big for McKinleyville, with Bryce Gruetzmacher and Ethan Gordon both hitting clutch hits late in the game as the home team looked to add to its slender advantage.

The McKinleyville players cheer as Joe Tanno scores the game’s only run.

The back-to-back hits, coupled with Tanno’s intentional walk, loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but Cheatle and his defense were able to get out of the jam.

The game was delayed for about 20 minutes right after Gruetzmacher’s and Gordon’s base hits, as the Sutter-Butte coaches protested that the Mack baserunners were stealing signs.

After a lengthy delay, the game resumed and the Mack players showed no ill-effects from the break.

Joe Tanno scores the game’s only run in the fourth inning.

The Mack All-Stars will now advance to the NorCal state tourney in Rocklin, which begins on Saturday.

Tuesday’s win was McKinleyville’s and Tanno’s second over Sutter-Butte at the Section tournament.

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