As a chorus that went, “Extra, extra, read all about it,” rang out from the dugout of the Newport Harbor Baseball Assn.’s 10-and-under All-Stars, it was as if the kids knew that breaking news was about to occur.
Kids tell all kinds of stories and take on all sorts of nicknames in their youth, but even the Newport Harbor coaches agree with one such designation.
“[Jordan Spigarelli] is a gamer, and so that’s his nickname is, ‘Gamer,’” Newport Harbor coach Joe Francis said. “He’s had that nickname for a while, but he plays hard, plays the game the right way, obviously. He makes things happen for us. He’s awesome.”
Spigarelli had seven stolen bases on Thursday night, as Newport Harbor bolted past Costa Mesa 15-8 in the PONY Mustang Section tournament at TeWinkle Park.
The Newport Harbor first baseman went three for three at the plate, while also receiving an intentional walk.
Once on the base paths, nothing was going to stop him from scoring. Spigarelli stole home in the bottom of the first inning while the ball was being thrown back to the pitcher, and he stole home again in the fifth.
The first-inning steal of home followed back-to-back strikeouts by Newport Harbor hitters with Spigarelli standing at third base. He took matters into his own hands, and he electrified the dugout.
“The first one, it kind of lit us up,” Francis said. “The first one, he stole home, and we kind of needed that one at the time. It’s a good opportunity for us. The situation has to be right for us, but it really helped us motivate the guys.”
Newport Harbor led 3-0 at the end of the first inning, despite Keaton Anderson striking out the side.
Costa Mesa also showed a willingness to take extra bases. Costa Mesa stole five bases as a team in the second inning, helping it take a 6-3 lead heading to the bottom of the second. Cameron Hatfield had a two-run single to highlight the rally.
“Our boys showed some resiliency in that second inning, scoring six runs,” Costa Mesa coach Mark Hatfield said. “It’s just a bummer that we couldn’t do it in another inning, but I’m proud of them. It’s been a long season, and we’ve got to come back and try to win the next one, stay alive for a couple more days.”
In a game with a lot of offense, Benjamin Ricketts provided a perfect first inning on the mound for Newport Harbor. It helped his team get out in front early.
“I think when I pitched a 1-2-3 inning, I feel like my team was pumped and ready to bat,” Ricketts said.
Ricketts added two hits offensively, as did Brooks Francis and Chance Bolding.
Bolding came off the bench, but he drove in runs with both of his hits following a pinch-hitting appearance in the third inning.
“At first, when you’re on the bench, you kind of feel like you’re missing out on everything,” Bolding said. “Once you get out there, you start to play with your all because you missed out on the first couple of innings.”
Newport Harbor scored four runs in the third to take a 7-6 lead, and it broke the game open with a six-run fourth.
Lincoln Silva had two hits to pace the Costa Mesa bats. Caden Camacho, Caleb Camacho, Anderson and Hatfield each had one hit.
Newport Harbor will take on the winner of Garden Grove and West Garden Grove in the semifinals on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. If successful in that contest, Newport Harbor would play in the sectional championship at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.