NHBA All-Stars win regional title

After winning the Bronco District Championship two weeks ago, the Newport Harbor Baseball Assn.'s Bronco 12-and-under All-Stars will be hanging another banner.

Newport Harbor won the Bronco Regional Championship with a convincing 11-5 win against Cypress on Sunday. Newport Harbor staked its claim as the best 12-and-under team in Orange County.

Logan Pence pitched a complete-game gem to get the win. Though the bullpen was active after six innings of play, Manager Mike Greer decided to let Pence finish what he started. In all, Pence gave up five runs, only three of them earned, and struck out four.

Pence's teammates gave him an early lead to work with as Newport Harbor scored six runs in the first two innings. In the top of the first, Simon Copeman started things off with a double. After a walk to Clay Liolios, Braham Duncan blasted a three-run home run over the left-field fence.

The top of the second started with a walk to Pence and a base hit by Chase Greer. Copeman and Liolios then delivered by driving in runs. Duncan rounded out the scoring in the second with a sacrifice fly.

As the Newport Harbor bats quieted over the middle innings, Cypress clawed back from a 6-0 deficit to make it a 6-4 game after five innings of play. That's as close as Cypress would get though as Newport Harbor scored five runs in the final two innings.

Greer and Copeman started out the top of the sixth inning with base hits. After a walk to Liolios to load the bases, Duncan hit a line drive to the center-field wall to score Greer and Copeman.

Newport Harbor finished its scoring for the day with three more runs in the top of the seventh. Trey Genova reached base on a single and advanced to second on a stolen base. Greer, Brendan Duffy and Copeman followed up with hits driving in runs.

Duncan finished the day with six runs batted in. Copeman had four hits, including two doubles and Greer added three hits.

Pence finished off Cypress in the bottom of the seventh by recording the final out with a strikeout. At that point, the celebration was on as Newport Harbor was awarded its second championship banner of the year.

Liolios and Luke Bashore also homered during the four-day tournament. Kyle Binford and Luke Hatfield added some key hits during the tourney as well.

Newport Harbor hopes to get its starting center fielder and clean-up batter, Jack Bibb, back this week. Bibb suffered a hip injury during Newport Harbor's last tournament.

With the regional title in hand, Newport Harbor will now travel to Whittier for a Thursday evening contest to open the Super-Regional Tournament. The Super-Regional tourney plays host to the top 16 teams in Southern California.

Though this same team had a decent showing in the Super-Regional as an 11-and-under team last year, it was unable to advance. The players feel it will be a different story this year.

— From staff reports

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