Newport Bat Rays making memories

The Newport Beach Bat Rays under-12 team is in Cooperstown, N.Y., where they are competing at the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament. Since Sunday, the Bat Rays have a played twice each day, compiling a record of 4-2 through Tuesday.

The Bat Rays were ranked 30th in the field of 102 going into the championship pool play, which began Wednesday. Below is a recap of the games played from Sunday to Tuesday:


Tinley Park, Ill. 8, Newport Beach 0

The Bat Rays were evidently fatigued from the travel and time change, as they fell behind, 3-0, after the first. The Bat Rays lost their starting shortstop, Nick Premer, in the third to a left leg bone contusion suffered on a hard foul tip. Even though there were great fielding plays by Stephen Menzia, Brendan Hueston, Nick Fox and Connor Bock, the Bat Rays could not keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. The Bulldogs pitchers kept the Bat Rays off-balance all game, striking out eight.

Newport Beach 10, Doylestown, Pa. 9

In Game 2, the Bat Rays took fell behind, 5-0, in the third inning. The Bat Rays mounted a comeback in the bottom of the third. The rally started with a lead-off hit by Tyler Chan, a line drive to center by Jason Neiger, and an infield single by Menzia to record the Bat Ray's first score of the tournament. Bock followed with the team's first homerun, which brought home three runs. The inning continued with base hits by Hueston and Evan Clary, a walk by Collin Rogers, allowing Neiger to clear the bases with a grand slam. Great plays by Luke Gardner, Alex Lee and Fox preserved the win.


Monmouth County, N.J. 12, Newport Beach 7

The Bat Rays fell behind by seven after the third. The team battled back in the sixth with four runs, but could not overcome the Dodgers' big lead. Neiger had a strong game overall at shortstop. He hit a homerun in the fifth. The Bat Rays scored collected seven hits. Morgan Mannon recorded four strikeouts, and Rogers and Fox combined for four strikeouts in relief.

Newport Beach 4, Agawam, Mass. 1

In Game 2, Luke Gardner took to the mound and recorded a no-hitter while striking out nine and walking three. The Bat Rays scored in the first inning with a base hit by Gardner that scored Menzia. Premer, returning to action from an injury, knocked in two runs on a base hit in the sixth to open up the game.


Newport Beach 16, Medina, Ohio 2

The Newport Beach Bat Rays' bats woke up. The Bat Rays scored five in the first, three in the second, and pounded Medina for eight runs in the fourth. Neiger pitched four innings, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out two. Menzia went three for three with two base hits and the team's second grand slam. Mannon added two insurance runs with a double in the sixth. Cole Collins returned to action after having an appendectomy one week earlier. Premer drove in a run and Hueston had a made a great in center.

Newport Beach 21, Diamond, Tenn. 9

In the final game, the Bat Rays' left off where it started from the earlier game. The Bat Rays collected 20 hits. Clary, Lee and Mannon hit their first home runs of the tournament, Menzia continued to shine offensively, going three for three, and Neiger added another homer.

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