2023 Humboldt Eagles offense could be their best ever

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By Ray Hamill — The season hasn’t even begun yet, but the Humboldt Eagles are already attracting the attention of some college coaches and scouts.

The local American Legion club held tryouts for the 17U and 19U teams this week, with the older boys set to open the summer season in a doubleheader against the NorCal Nationals in Redding on Sunday.

And, according to head coach Matt Tomlin, he’s already received calls from several college coaches eager to check out his players in action on opening weekend.

Although considering the roster Tomlin has this summer, that’s really not a surprise.

“Sometimes some of the top players (in the area) want to do other things, but we feel this year every top player in the H-DNL is coming out to play for us,” Tomlin said. “It’s a really strong team.”

After two days of tryouts, Tomlin and his assistant coaches announced their 19-player roster on Friday morning, with five different H-DNL schools represented on the all-star squad.

Eureka junior Cooper Ohlsen will be the team’s No. 1 pitcher, while the dynamic Fortuna duo of Cody Collins and Cole Ayala and Eureka’s Rogan Bode are all expected to set the tone at the plate and on defense.

“I think this team has the potential to be the best offensive Eagles team we’ve ever had,” Tomlin said.

The 2023 team will feature six players from the history-making Fortuna High team, which won  a first Big 5 title for the school since 1975.

In addition to Collins and Ayala, teammates Matt Letter, Rogan Gans, Rylan Lommori and Cayden Danbrauskas will also play for the Eagles this summer.

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Three Loggers are also included on the roster, with Cayden Vance joining Bode and Ohlsen, while Willie Bommelyn, Cole Blackburn and Ethan Thomas from the history-making Del Norte team, which won two playoffs games for the first time in program history this spring, also made the roster.

There are three players, however, that Tomlin is hoping will not be available for the season-opening games.

Arcata’s Chase Coleman and Will Mager and St. Bernard’s Michael Manzi are all playing in North Coast Section finals on Saturday, and if they win they will continue on the NorCal playoffs next week before joining the Eagles.

Manzi is the youngest player on the Eagles 19U roster, but Tomlin says the 16-year-old freshman fully deserves his place after a breakout spring.

“He does so many things well,” the coach said. “He’s earned his spot.”

Michael Manzi in action for St. Bernard’s.

This year’s team will also feature three college players — Jeran Ford of College of the Redwoods, Cayden Lee of Umpqua and Daniel Osborne of Lassen — with former SB player Brody Tomlin rounding out the 19-man roster.

The Eagles 19Us will play the Humboldt Crabs in a midweek game at the Arcata Ball Park on June 7.

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