Eel River All-Stars go down battling in Section championship

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Ryker Renner is congratulated after a first-inning base hit on Tuesday night.

The Eel River 11-year-old All-Stars went down battling on Tuesday night, falling in their Section championship game at Rohner Park in Fortuna.

The host team fell 9-6 to West Redding to end a memorable season for the young players.

The local All-Stars gave up five runs in the top of the first but kept their composure and battled back to make a game of it, pulling within one run after two innings.

They had their chances late, scoring twice in the sixth inning and bringing the tying run to the plate before Redding closed out the game to advance to the Northern California State tournament.

“We battled back and we had our chances,” manager Brandon Long said. “Defensively, we just kind of couldn’t get ourselves out of a jam and make the plays in the first inning.”

Pitcher Mason Long had a good night and quickly settled his teammates down after the early setback, while the Eel River bats began to chip away at the deficit and scored two runs in each of the first and second innings.

Ryker Renner and Long helped set the tone at the plate with back-to-back hits in each of their first two at-bats, while Miles Sirrine added a big RBI double to make it 5-4.

Long pitched into the fifth inning and was “lights out,” according to the manager.

Kayden Crawford also had a good night and hit a big double to lead-off the bottom of the sixth and spark a late rally that fell just short.

Despite the loss, it was a memorable postseason run for the District 26 champions.

“The ball didn’t fall our way, but it was a great season,” Brandon Long said. “We lost our first two games last year, and to see how much they’ve improved and how they handled it … it was a great team effort all tournament.”

Renner, Long and Sirrine, in particular, all had great tournaments and were key to the team’s big run.

“It was a cool experience and something they’ll always remember,” the manager said. “It was fun. The kids were amazing.”

The Eel River All-Stars closed out tournament play 2-2.


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