Youth Scene: Bat Rays win USSSA Halloween Haunt

The U8 local Bat Rays club baseball team won the championship at the USSSA Halloween Haunt tournament recently.

The tournament was held for a great cause to "Strike Out Cancer" and took place at the Big League Dreams Park in West Covina. The tournament was the qualifier for the 2013 Global Sports/USSSA World Series in July and had over 120 teams competing at the event.

The U8 Bat Rays, formed this past summer, is comprised of standout baseball players from Newport Beach and Irvine. Coached by Ariel Guitron and Nick Friel, the team played in an intense four-game tournament and outscored its opponents, 34-10.

The weekend started off with an 11-4 win over the Rancho Santa Margarita Storm where the team played stellar defense and offense including a triple and a home run by Eric Saba to lead the offensive charge and accompanied by multiple hits from Charlie Ransom, Kaulin Post, Ryan Hatcher and Andrew Miehe.

The Bat rays then played the Bat Hawks from La Verne and after a tough first inning found themselves on the losing side in a 9-5 setback. The loss put them in a must-win position Sunday morning against the Knuckleheads who had gone undefeated coming into the game.

The boys played flawless baseball against the Knuckleheads and built a quick lead with an offensive charge that included two two-run home runs by Van Sidebotham and various extra base hits for Saba, Ransom, CC Clarke, Spencer Webb and Cooper Hoch.

Great pitching followed and the defense was able to put out anything that came to them. Then closer AJ Guitron Moore came in to finish off the Knuckleheads with a great outing and the Bat Rays won, 10-2, on a mercy rule to advance to the championship that afternoon.

The boys were then seeded against the undefeated Black Hawks for the championship with a second chance to play the team that beat them less than 24 hours earlier.

In the first inning the bats were hot and completely came alive and the Bat Rays sent 13 to the plate. The Bat Rays scored eight runs in the top of the first to give themselves a solid lead and seemed to stun the Bat Hawks.

Then the defense set in and it was lights out from that point forward. Dominant pitching and multiple strikeouts by Sidebotham and Clarke along with stellar defense led the way for the rest of the game to help the Bat Rays win, 10-4.

Some of the weekend highlights were Ransom batted .890 with five runs scored and only got out once. Saba scored six runs and hit .640. Sidebotham batted .780 with five runs scored. Clarke had five runs batted in in the championship game. Hoch batted .600 and was instrumental in a key point with a pickoff at first base. Spencer Webb hit .300 and forced five walks to translate into multiple runs scored, and there was outstanding defensive contributions from Drew Houfley and Ryan Cornuke.

Every player on the team played a significant part during the weekend.

— Reader submission


Newport Lightning wins two tournaments

The Newport Lightning Basketball Club's 12U White team completed a two-tournament win-streak recently in Garden Grove when it won the NOC Fall Classic.

Before that in Anaheim, the Lightning won the BCS OC Slamboree Championships going 4-0 on the weekend.

It has been a great season for the NLBC 12U White team led by the solid play of Will Harvey, Jack Garza, George Knapp, Kabir Suri, Tyler Hollander, Tre Villalpando and Chris Loucks.

The team struggled a bit in the summer, but have been on a tear recently with help from DJ Rodman, Ethan Barnes and Adam Flood, who have helped bolster the squad.

Coach Scott Stucki attributes the team's recent success with the desire to really dedicate themselves to basketball over the past few months and have fun in the games.

— Reader submission


Newport Lightning Basketball Club wins big

The Newport Lightning Basketball Club completed a stellar weekend of play at the inaugural TH Hoops "Beach Classic" Tournament by winning the championship in both the 14U (eighth grade) and 11U (fifth grade) divisions. The 12U (sixth grade) team also took second place in the tournament.

All four NLBC teams combined to go 13-3 on the weekend.

The NLBC 11U team coached by Scott Stucki beat SGV, Monrovia Mountaineers and TH Hoops twice to capture the title. Luke Bashore, Nic Ayala, John Humphreys, Jack Kalatschan, Jack McKenna, Luke Hatfield, Haig Mavusi, Tommy Griffin, Jaden Glenn and Shane Premer all played well in the four wins.

The NLBC 14U Black team coached by Mike Flamson beat Mountaineers Red, TH Hoops, SGV and Mountaineers Black to take home the title. Jake Pearson, Will Rodosky, Fritz Miller, Jacob Jones, Mitch Haly, Brendan Cormie, David Atencio, Jordan Alvarado, Bryson Betti and Ben Coffman all played key roles in the four wins.

— Reader submission

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