Nolan Dunn notched his second pitching victory of the tournament and four players hit home runs Thursday as the Newport Beach Bat Rays U-12 travel baseball team finished tied for fifth in the 104-team Cooperstown Classic at Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York.
The Bat Rays (8-2) advanced to the Elite 8 in the prestigious national tournament for the first time in the organization's history after defeating the OC Bolts, 12-10, in the Sweet 16.
Dunn tossed five-plus innings, while striking out four and walking two in a strong 96-pitch performance.
Caleb Ricketts, Johnny Olmstead, Alden Burton-Fowler and Corbin Vaicek hit home runs for the Bat Rays in the edge-of-your-seat win. It was Vaicek's first career home run.
Shawn Nielsen recorded the save in relief of Dunn in the sixth and doused a late Bolts rally.
The Bat Rays, who crushed 53 home runs in the 10 games, dropped a 14-1 decision in the Elite 8 to the Winter Park, Fla., Diamond Force, who reached the Cooperstown Classic championship game.
Dunn (9), Hayden Schott (8), Nielsen (8) and Olmstead (7) provided the bulk of Newport Beach's home runs.
Ryan Aleman, Ethan Barnes, Tanner Ivey, Mac Briggs and Clay Liolios also provided contributions for the Bat Rays.
— Reader submission