COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Shawn Nielsen slammed three home runs and came out of the bullpen to earn the pitching victory Tuesday as the Newport Beach Bat Rays U-12 travel baseball team rallied from an 8-0 deficit to defeat the Smithtown (N.Y.) Bulls, 22-10, in the final pool-play game of the Cooperstown Classic at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
The Bat Rays completed pool play 5-1 and will open the first round of single-elimination playoff action Wednesday.
In their first game Tuesday, the Bat Rays defeated Titans (N.Y.) Baseball, 13-8, behind the solid four-inning pitching performance of Caleb Ricketts and five home runs, including two dingers by first baseman Hayden Schott. Nolan Dunn, Johnny Olmstead and Nielsen also homered for the winners.
In the second game, Schott and Tanner Ivey hit two home runs each, in addition to Nielsen's long-ball exploits. One of Nielsen's three home runs in the Bat Rays' win over Smithtown was estimated at 380 feet, as it cleared not only the 200-fot home-run fence, but another fence about 360 feet away that separates the field from the barracks where the players stay in the week-long national tournament.
The host Bat Rays hit 11 home runs against Smithtown, after trailing by eight runs in the first inning. Dunn, Olmstead, Ethan Barnes and Ryan Aleman also homered for Newport Beach. Clay Liolios, Mac Briggs, Corbin Vaicek and Alden Burton-Fowler also provided contributions for the Bat Rays.
The Bat Rays are managed by Dan Cummins. Sam Olmstead is the assistant coach.
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