Youth tournaments take center stage this weekend

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – McKinleyville’s Cabella Carper in action last summer.

By Ray Hamill — Get ready for a busy weekend of youth sports here in Humboldt County.

In softball, the Humboldt Fastpitch season finale tournaments will be played at four different locations in the north county, with a record number of girls signing up this year.

In Little League baseball, meanwhile, the District 26 Tournament of Champions will be held over four days at Hiller Park in McKinleyville, with the action beginning on Saturday.

A total of 14 teams will compete in this year’s TOC, representing six different local associations, including three teams each from the McKinleyville, Eel River and Redwood Empire Little Leagues.

Two teams from both Klamath Trinity and Southern Humboldt will also compete for the championship, along with one team from Arcata.

The tournament will feature six games on two different fields on Saturday, with the opening games getting under way at 10 a.m.

The District tourney will also feature four games on Sunday, with two semifinals on Monday evening and the championship showdown on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

The Humboldt Fastpitch Softball Tournament, meanwhile, will feature six different age groups, including brackets for 14/16U, 12U, 10U, 8U and 6U.

The youngest girls’ division will feature just one game per team on Saturday, while the 8Us will play two games each on Sunday.

The three elder brackets will all take place over two days, with pool play getting under way on Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sunday featuring a single elimination format.

The 10Us will play at Hiller Park and the 12Us and 14/16Us will compete at the Arcata Sports Complex.

Pitcher Gavin Anderson reacts during last summer TOC.

A record 520 girls signed up to play this year in the first full season since 2019, and, according to Humboldt Fastpitch president Kelly Wolfe Helms, it was a successful spring.

“I think overall we had a great season,” she said. “We had some rainouts that impacted our schedule, so we haven’t been able to play quite as many games as we wanted. We just didn’t have the field availability. But by and large, I felt we had a very successful 2022.”

With the season winding down, the top local young players will now turn their attention to the Mad River Mist travel ball season, with six teams set to compete over the summer months.

The MIST will field two 10U teams, a 12U squad, two 14U teams, and a 16/18U team.

The MIST are hoping to host a tournament in mid August.

One of the 14U teams is a year-round program and will travel to compete in the Alliance national tournament in mid July.

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