Youth Scene: Bat Rays finish strong in NY

The Newport Beach Bat Rays under-12 team returned home after playing a week in the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament in Cooperstown, NY.

Coached by Dave Bock, Jeff Gardner, and Mike Menzia, the players and their families traveled almost 3,000 miles to compete against 102 teams from across the U.S. and Canada. The Bat Rays had a solid finish, reaching the round of 32. They reeled off three wins and went 4-2 as it entered the single elimination championship round seeded 30th.

Newport Beach 7, Montco Mustangs 4: In the Bat Rays' first game of the championship round, the team took on the 35th-seeded Mustangs. In a surprise move, Nick Premer, fighting off pain from a left leg bone contusion suffered early in the tournament, took to the mound and pitched five stellar innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits. First baseman Nick Fox made a great defensive play, as did Luke Gardner and Stephen Menzia.

Conner Bock smashed a two-run home run. Premer also had a home run and Menzia contributed two runs batted in. Jason Nieger also had an RBI. Brenden Hueston had an RBI double.

Virginia Wolfpack 15, Newport Beach 3: After defeating the Montco Mustangs, the Bat Rays advanced to the round of 32. This time they were pitted against the Virginia Wolfpack, which entered the championship round seeded 4th. With only 30 minutes to prepare the Bat Rays didn't have time to enjoy their earlier win. Gardner hit a three-run homer that scored Bock and Premer, who both reached base on singles.

The Bat Rays ended the week with a successful final 5-3 record. It was a memorable week as the Bat Rays arrived in picturesque Cooperstown with modest expectations, came together as a team, fought through injuries, made spectacular plays, and leave with a winning record and great memories.

2010 Newport Beach Bat Rays: Conner Bock, Tyler Chan, Evan Clary, Cole Collins, Nick Fox, Luke Gardner, Brenden Hueston, Alex Lee, Morgan Mannon, Stephen Menzia, Jason Neiger, Nick Premer, Collin Rogers.

— Reader submission

Phan finishes 15th

Michaela Phan, a Newport Coast resident, finished tied for 15th in the 8-year-old division of the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C. last week.

Phan, an 8-year-old who plans to enroll at Newport Coast Elementary in the fall, shot 12-over-par 120, 16 shots off the winner Emilie Alba Paltrinieri of Italy.

Phan's mother, Kimberly Tran, said her daughter enjoyed her time in the tournament and met many friends from all over the world.

Phan's best score came in her second round when she shot three-over 39. The golfers shot three nine-hole rounds.

Phan qualifed for the prestigious tournament because of low scores and high finishes at local tournaments.

— Steve Virgen

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