By Ray Hamill — A pair of local teams have stepped in to fill a void after two teams dropped out of this week’s Eagles American Legion tournament.
The 16-team, four-day tournament will feature 40 games in 19U and 17U brackets and gets under way on Thursday, with the games taking place at three different fields in Eureka.
Two teams recently backed out of the tournament, but the Eureka Dukes and Six Rivers Kings 13Us will now take their place.
The Dukes, who also filled in at the last minute to play a doubleheader against the Eagles earlier in the summer, feature players from Eureka and St. Bernard’s High Schools, as well as some from College of the Redwoods.
They replace the Bay Area Bombers this week and will open tournament play against Point Arena on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Belotti Field across from the Redwood Acres.
The Dukes roster includes former Eureka Loggers Ethan Pesch, Seth Grammer and Xander Sorenson and will be coached by Matt Tomlin and Jason Gable.
St. Bernard’s Tyler Maples, Tyson Meyer, Jason Meyer, Mateo Gutierrez, TC Rinker, Brayden Luna, Seth Brunton and Michael Fugate also feature on the roster.
This year’s Little 4 MVP Tyler Dimmick, who is one of the finalists for the 2023 Humboldt Sports Little 4 Boys Athlete of the Year, is also expected to play for the team this week and will give them a big boost on the mound and at the plate.
The Kings 13Us, meanwhile, will fill in for the Southern Humboldt 76ers in the 17U bracket.
In their first year competing as the Kings, this group of local 13Us have impressed on the way to three tournament championships.
However, they will have their hands full going up against the older opposition but are looking forward to the challenge.
“I don’t expect us to win a game, we average four years younger,” head coach Tim Brogan said. “But we’re going to go out and play our best game and get some reps and see how we can do.”
The Kings will feature seven of their regular players — Brayden Bermers, Kyle Giacone, Scott Brogan, Jake Vasquez, Bryson Burns, Cash Mobley and Cade Renner — and have also added Vincent East, Abel Estes, Kawai Sharp, Jesse Vasquez and Zavier Rodriguez.
Regardless of results, the Kings’ team speed will cause their opponents problems and keep opposing catchers busy.
This year the young Kings players have stolen 176 bases in 25 games, averaging more than 7 a game.
Click here for a full tournament schedule …