Tournament of Champions play begins today
The postseason is officially upon the Del Norte Little League.
Up first is the District 26 Tournament of Champions, a 16-team, single-elimination tournament comprising the top two baseball teams from each area’s Little League. The baseball tournament begins today in Eureka’s Haney Park; the softball tournament begins today at Washington Elementary School in Eureka.
“It’s win or go home,” Little League President Sean Harper said.
Del Norte Little League is one of nine organizations within California District 26. Other members include Arcata, Blue Lake-Fieldbrook (Blue Lake), Eel River (Fortuna), Eureka, Klamath-Trinity (Hoopa), McKinleyville, Redwood Empire (Eureka) and Southern Humboldt (Garberville) Little Leagues.
“We’re all traveling during the season for interleague play; it lets you know what you’re up against,” said Tim Nolan, head coach of the Del Norte Majors Giants softball team. “(For the kids), traveling, playing games is really exciting.”
Baseball teams representing Del Norte will be the Majors (ages 11–12) Giants and the Majors A’s. Softball teams representing Del Norte include the Majors Giants, Majors Yankees and Seniors (ages 13–16) Angels.
Del Norte Little League also released the names of baseball and softball players selected to All-Star teams on Friday.
One team, the Del Norte Boys’ 9/10 All-Stars, has already conducted four practices. The 9/10 All-Stars’ tournament runs June 23–28, with games hosted by Blue Lake-Fieldbrook Little League in Blue Lake.
“The kids are looking pretty good,” said Richie Goudelock, coach of the 9/10 All-Stars and, this season, the Del Norte Farm League Angels. “We should be pretty competitive.”
Team members include Anthony Slayton, Orencio Calleja, Sebastian Puente, Justin Goudelock, Giovanni Gonzalez, Brock Reagan, Daylen O’Reilley, Damien Dowd, Gabriel Provencio, Jaydin Henderson, Dalton Liles and Kaden Ritter. Assistant coaches are Jesse Puente and O.J. Calleja.
The Boys’ 10/11 All-Stars will be coached by Byron Gardner, who led the Del Norte Majors Padres this season. The 10/11 All-Stars tournament takes place from June 30 to July 5, with games hosted by Arcata Little League in Arcata.
Team members include Eric Gardner, Preston Nunez, Matthew Smedley, Jackson Reese, Jorge Landeros, Jeremiah Norbury, Zach Gabel, Collin Mattz, Andy Larson, Joey Wainscott, Levi Polk and Timothy Thompson. Mike Mattz will serve as the assistant coach.
The Boys’ 11/12 All-Stars will be coached by Dan Bassett, the head coach of the Del Norte Majors Giants this season. The 11/12 All-Stars tournament takes place from June 29 to July 5, with games hosted by Eel River Little League in Fortuna.
Team members include Johnnie Rafalowski, Cole Harper, Ryan Janeiro, Carter Costello, Jackson Bruder, Klevon Welch, Ben Slayton, Jeremy Bernal, Trent Bruschi, Luke Hardy and Chee Shorty. Preston Rafalowski and Jason Costello will serve as assistant coaches.
In softball, Mark Horner, coach of the Del Norte Majors Cubs (ages 10–12) this season, will be at the helm of the Del Norte Girls’ 9/10 All-Stars. The 9/10 All-Stars tournament runs from June 29 to July 5 in McKinleyville, hosted by McKinleyville Little League.
Team members include Shelby Horner, Lacee Coopman, McKenzie Fernandez, Allison Douglas, Tamesha Jordan, Megan Proctor, Hailey Stover, Hailey Price, Ayliah Rafalowski, Amaris Folkins and Addy Tiffany. Assistant coaches are John Horner and Jennifer Douglas.
Nolan will coach the Del Norte 11/12 Girls All-Stars, whose tournament runs from June 29 to July 5 in Fortuna. Eel River Little League will be the host.
Team members include Brook Nolan, Antonia Acala, Chloe Luna, Jacobi Cox, Josey Carlson, Tvshiina Jacobs, Caitlyn Herrera, Rachel Higgins, Payten Healy, Hannah Baldwin, Tayler Melton and Kallie Roth. Aaron Healy and Travis Stover will serve as assistant coaches.