Tuesday night was another good one for the McKinleyville All-Stars, with the 12-year-olds capturing their section championship in Anderson and the 10s advancing to play for one in Chico.
The 12-year-old All-Stars defeated Susanville for the second straight night, winning 11-2 to cap a remarkable two weeks for a very resilient team.
McKinleyville has now won nine straight elimination games between the District and Section tournaments.
“We went the longest possible route, but it it gives us a lot of experience,” manager Patrick Green said. “Nine straight elimination games, that’s pretty cool. I’m proud of the kids.”
Tuesday’s victory sends them on to the Northern California State championship in Watsonville, which gets under way on Saturday.
Asked what has impressed him the most about this team’s run, Green said it was the players’ confidence.
“They showed up ready to play, knowing they had the ability to get the job done,” he said. “They just continue to believe in themselves and it’s impressive to watch.”
If the Mack All-Stars win the NorCal title, they would then advance to the West Regional tournament in San Bernardino with a place in the Little League World Series on the line.
Several players stepped up on Tuesday, including Maccoy Rickson, who had a breakout game.
Rickson finished 2-for-3 with a double and drove in three of his team’s runs.
He also provided the defensive highlight of the night with an outstanding catch in right field, before doubling up to throw out a Susanville runner at first base to complete the double play.
The ever-dangerous Tate Saso also continued to impress and finished 2-for-2 with a double and two walks, while also scoring four runs.
Lincoln Hungerford got the start on the mound and threw four strong innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out five.
Talon Turner pitched the final two innings to seal the win and allowed no earned runs on two hits, while striking out for.
The red-hot bat of Hacher Matson capped a big week with his third home run of the tournament, a two-run opposite-field blast that helped key a four-run first.
The Mack 10s also have been a resilient group this week, beating Chico Westside 10-1 for their third straight elimination-game victory on Tuesday.
The McKinleyville bats came to play with seven different players getting multiple hits, including Jared Brunner, who finished 3-for-4.
Blaine Martin also impressed at the plate and finished 2-for-2.
Teoh Arredondo got the start on three mound and threw four strong innings to help set the tone.
Arredondo allowed just two hits and one walk and struck out 11.
Colton Hawkes closed out the game and used his change-up to great effect, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
Arredondo and Hawkes each also had a pair of hits, with Hawkes scoring twice, while Hudson Kapko and Liam Currell each was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and Breyden Brock was 2-for-4 with a run.
It took the Mack bats a little while to warm, up, but they got going with five runs in the third and never looked back.
The loss was the first in tournament play for Chico and the two teams will face off again on Wednesday night to decide the section championship and who moves on to the Northern California tournament.
McKinleyville has some good pitching options for the big showdown, with Brock and Kapko both available.
The Mack Junior All-Stars, meanwhile, saw their season end on Tuesday night with a 5-4 loss to Sutter-Area.
“They had a good tournament,” team manager Wayne Wilson said. “As they get older, they’re getting closer and closer to being able to put it all together.”
Because of travel team commitments, most of the players would have been unable to play in a state tournament even if McKinleyville had advanced.
Half the team will be playing high school baseball next year.