McKinleyville bats make some noise in impressive Area tournament opener

File photo – Jake Brunner

The McKinleyville 12-year-old All-Stars came out swinging the bats on Thursday night, as they opened the Area tournament with a comfortable 15-2 victory over Chico Eastside in Anderson.

And it was a big night for Jake Brunner and Hacher Matson, who each hit their first career Little League home runs in the win.

“We hit the ball — a lot,” manager Patrick Green said. 

Three pitchers combined on the mound, and all three kept their pitch count down.

“We pitched well and defended well,” Green said. “We didn’t have to go deep with the pitch count, so we were able to use kids and keep them available.”

In addition to his big offensive highlight, Brunner also pitched well and got the win on the mound.

Lincoln Hungerford threw two strong innings in relief, before Tate Saso came in to close out the game.

“It was an ideal game one as far as pitching worked out,” the manager said.

The Mack 12s continue tournament play on Friday evening.

Mack Junior All-Stars win big

The McKinleyville Junior All-Stars returned to the section tournament for the first time in a few years and didn’t disappoint with a comprehensive 10-0 win in five innings.

An experienced roster of players that collectively have made multiple trips deep into the Little League playoffs in recent years looked well up to the challenge.

“We pitched and ran the bases well, and we played defense well,” manager Wayne Wilson said.

Mike Manzi and Bode Reininger both pitched well in the win, with Manzi also having an impact at the plate and finishing with two hits.

Cody Wilson and Brayden Pinard each also had a pair of hits in the win, while Rhythm Green and Ray Turner both bunted the ball well.

Asked what he likes most about this group of players, Wilson pointed to their experience, with the roster made up of the past two Mack 12-year-old All-Star squads.

“They’re very experienced,” the manager said. “They’ve played a lot of Steelheads and travel baseball, and these two teams have been to state four or five times, and that’s huge.”

The Mack players won the district championship series with two straight victories over Arcata a couple of weeks ago.

Manzi has been a key player in their playoff run so far.

“If he’s on the mound, it’s hard to beat us,” Wayne Wilson said.

The Mack players have a bye on Friday and will continue tournament play on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Mack 10s shut out Sutter

Three McKinleyville pitchers combined for a three-hitter as the 10-year-old All-Stars opened the Area tournament with a 13-0 win over Sutter on Thursday.

Breyden Brock got the start and struck out five in two innings, before Hudson Kapko took over and struck out four in two innings.

Liam Currell pitched the final inning and struck out two to seal the win.

Brock also had an impact at the plate and hit a big bases-clearing double, while Kapko added a double and finished with three RBIs.

Teoh Arredondo also had a big day and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Blaine Martin was 1-for-2 with a run.

Jared Brunner returned to the lineup after missing the District tournament with an injury and had a good day behind the plate while also scoring a run.

The Mack players will have a bye on Friday before resuming tournament play on Saturday.

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