Athletes of the Week

ATHLETES AND TEAM OF THE WEEK — Catchers play a key role at District tournament

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — A pair of outstanding catchers and a dominating local Little League team are this week’s Humboldt Sports Athletes and Team of the Week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.

It was a fun few days at the District 26 All-Star tournament in Arcata, with plenty of exciting games and entertaining baseball.

And that included a hard-fought battle between rivals McKinleyville and Eel River in the championship round, with two talented young catchers setting the tone for their teams.

“Hats off to Cabella Carper and Mason Long,” Eel River head coach Brandon Long said. “I feel they’re the best two (Little League) catchers maybe in all of Northern California. They’re like artists back there.”

And those artists are our Athletes of the Week.

Carper’s team took the banner with a 1-0 win over Eel River on Thursday night to cap an impressive three-game sweep in tournament action.

Both catchers play with a composure well beyond their years and appear to have a bright future ahead of them.

According to Brandon Long, when they are behind the plate it changes the way the game is played.

“It really changes the whole game when you can’t steal bases and when you know there won’t be any passed balls,” the coach said.

Our Team of the Week, meanwhile, goes to the McKinleyville All-Stars.

This young team is firing on all cylinders right now and can find a lot of ways to win games.

Under the guidance of head coach Quintin Carper, the Mack All-Stars continue to set the standard locally.


Cabella Carper

McKinleyville Little League

The young Carper has been a rock behind the dish for the Mack All-Stars in recent years and she continues to grow in stature.

“She’s a wall back there,” Quintin Carper said.

For good measure, Cabella also had a hard-hit double for one of just four McKinleyville hits in the final, showcasing her importance on offense as well.

For more on the young standout, see McKinleyville All-Stars prevail in exciting District championship …

Mason Long

Eel River Little League 

Despite the loss, the young Long was equally impressive for the Eel River All-Stars and he also continues to grow in stature.

Long was one of several standouts on the team and played a pivotal role in helping to contain a dangerous McKinleyville bunt game in the championship.

He also was a part of arguably the defensive play of the tournament, combining with left fielder Easton Essig for a huge out late in their game against Redwood Empire.

For more on his big week, see Eel River All-Stars push rivals all the way in season finale …


McKinleyville All-Stars

The most dominating local Little League program is showing no signs of slowing down.

With an abundance of young talent, the Mack 12-year-olds won all three of their games in tournament play this week with several different players stepping up along the way.

In addition to Cabella Carper, the team also includes Carson Hicks, Hudson Kapko, Donny Chivrell, Everett Gruetzmacher, Brylon Smith, Breyden Brock, Tyson Marshall, Blake Carper, Teoh Arredondo, Jude Scher and Mikey Shumard.

The Mack players will now turn their attention to the Section tournament, which will be held in Yuba City next week.

For more on their big week, see McKinleyville All-Stars prevail in exciting District championship …

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