NHBA Bronco All-Stars win crown

LOS ALAMITOS — Another weekend, another banner, another string of overmatched victims for the Newport Harbor Baseball Assn. U12 Bronco Division All-Stars.

The locals dispatched Cypress, 18-0, in the mercy-rule-shortened title game of the Southern California West Central District Tournament on Sunday at St. Hedwig School to cap a three-game romp in which they outscored the competition, 62-1.

That's four tournament titles in five events this season for Newport Harbor, which improved to 20-3 in all-star play and continued to add to its staggering statistical numbers.

Newport Harbor batted .476 in three games with an on-base percentage of .705. It committed just three errors, 17 fewer than its opponents. The locals batted around eight times in 13 innings, launched six home runs to give them 52 in 23 games, and posted a team earned-run average of 0.47, as five pitchers combined to strike out 19 in 15 innings.

Twice the opponent broke up a no-hitter in its final at-bat, including Sunday when Cypress had just one runner get as far as second base.

Sunday's victory, the 18th time this season that Newport Harbor has invoked the 10-run mercy rule that halts the game scheduled for seven innings after the fifth or sixth inning, propelled the locals past this week's section tournament into the region tournament. The zone tournament, in which this team as 11-year-olds represented NHBA for the first time last year, will send teams to the Bronco World Series, Aug, 1-4 in Los Alamitos.

All nine starters and one reserve contributed to Sunday's 13-hit attack for the winners, who had three players get two hits apiece.

Right fielder Shawn Nielsen was two for three with three runs batted in, all of the latter on a monumental home run that drew oohs and ahs from the crowd. It was the third dinger of the tournament and the seventh of the all-star campaign for Nielsen, who was seven for nine with 11 RBIs in the three tournament contests. He reached base in eight of 10 plate appearances in the three games.

Catcher Caleb Ricketts was two for three with two runs batted in and two runs to make him seven for 11 in the tournament with six RBIs and nine runs. He reached base in all but one of his 12 plate appearances in the tournament.

First baseman Hayden Schott, who also pitched two hitless innings as the starter (three strikeouts without a walk), was two for three with one RBI and three runs on Sunday. He finished the tournament six for nine with seven RBIs, one homer and eight runs. He reached base 11 times in 14 plate appearances.

A.J. Stefano pitched the final three innings, fanning three and allowing just one hit. He also drove in two runs and scored one to give him seven RBIs and five runs for the tournament. He reached base in 10 of 15 plate appearances. Stefano played shortstop, third base and catcher in the tournament.

John Olmstead belted a two-run home run in the third inning for the locals. He also scored three times and had two of NHBA's seven stolen bases. Olmstead, who sparkled defensively at shortstop and pitched four scoreless no-hit innings with nine strikeouts in the opener, finished the tournament seven for 13 with eight RBIs, eight runs, two big flies and four stolen bases. He reached base on 10 of 14 plate appearances and now has 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in all-star play.

Second baseman Finn Springston drove in two runs and scored one on Sunday. His double made him the eighth NHBA player to register an extra-base hit during the tournament.

Left fielder Payton Jefferson singled in a run to give him five hits in nine at-bats in the tournament. He drove in six runs and scored nine while reaching base in seven of nine plate appearances.

Center fielder Ethan Barnes, who missed Saturday's game due to illness, scored two runs and drove in one with a third-inning double on Sunday. He finished the tournament four for nine with two RBIs and three runs. He reached base in seven of 10 plate appearances.

Third baseman Dayne Chalmers doubled and scored twice on Sunday. He reached base in five of eight plate appearances.

Nolan Dunn scored his sixth run of the tournament on Sunday. He finished four for eight with three RBIs and reached base in seven of eight plate appearances. He also pitched three innings, allowing one run, as the Saturday starter. He also played third base and left field.

Outfielder Corbin Voicek came off the bench in all three games to go three for five with three runs. He reached base in four of six plate appearances, while Tanner Ivey had one RBI and reached base twice in the tournament to round out the NHBA contributors.

The team is managed by Sam Olmstead, with help from coaches Robert Stefano and Evan Chalmers.

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