Trinity River Rapids Splash the 76’ers
Rapids ‘ Junior Davis K’s 15 Batters
By Manuel Sanchez, Two Rivers Tribune
On a warm summer’s day, the Trinity River Rapids swamped the visiting Southern Humboldt 76’ers in Hoopa, behind strong pitching and timely hitting. The Rapids banged out 22 hits, with starting pitcher Junior Davis collecting 15 strikeouts over his complete game victory.
Most of the Rapids’ runs came in the first frame when they brought 13 men to the plate and scored nine runs off the 76’ers starting pitcher, Mon Delao.
The Rapids scored all of their runs in the first with two outs, with every one of the nine suited players contributing to the tally.
The inning didn’t truly start until their second out and the bases loaded for Davis, who helped out his own cause by hitting a two-run single, scoring Lonnie Risling and Tyler Mitchell. That was followed by Jonathan Masten plating Quinten Matilton with a single of his own, for a 3-0 lead.
Robert Buckman would hit the third straight single of the inning, scoring Davis. This forced the 76’ers into a pitching change, but that didn’t stop the hot hitting of the Rapids.
Bradley Hostler welcomed the new pitcher with double to deep centerfield that hit off the fence, scoring Masten and putting runners on second and third. Lead-off hitter Trevor Avery followed with a two-run double of his own, with Risling hitting the third straight two-bagger of the inning for a 9-0 lead after the first inning.
“We are hitting better, it just took some time, but we are there,” Rapids Assistant Coach Shane McCullough said.
With the bats red-hot from the start, Davis was just unhittable from the first pitch of the game. The young hurler would strike out the side in the first and second innings, making the 76’ers hitters seem out of sync.
Davis had eight strikeouts after the first four innings, giving up two unearned runs in the third inning after an throwing error by Risling on a bunt attempt. Davis was upset but held his composure for the remainder of the game, shutting down the So. Humboldt line-up of Fortuna and Ferndale players down for the rest of the game.
The Rapids scorching bats continued to compile runs in the third inning, pushing three more across to answer the 76’er runs. Avery led off with a walk, followed by a Clay Ramone single and a Mitchell double to deep left-center.
After the third inning both teams evened out, with the Rapids adding five more runs over the next four innings. Davis would remain lights-out, not even letting a So Humboldt runner get passed first base for the remainder of the game.
Rapids Head Coach Donnie Warren said it took time for them to build the camaraderie needed for them to be successful. Since they are a team built from players from Hoopa and Weaverville, they needed time to gel.
One areas of concern for Warren is the commitment needed to fill the roster.
For the game against the 76’ers they only had nine players, with others not able to make it. Warren said this has been the biggest problem for them this season, but when they do field a full team, they can beat anybody.
The Rapids will be spending a portion of their summer in Oregon for the Best of the West tournament in Bend. Warren said the tournament will showcase some of the best talent in American Legion baseball on the west coast, with last year’s national runner-up for the American Legion World Series in attendance.
“This will be a really competitive tournament. If we have everyone of our players we should do well,” Warren said.
Not only are they looking to show everyone they are a team to be reckoned with, they will be showing off a team that has five players suiting up at the college level next season. Ramone is getting looks for a Division I team (Sacramento State), while Risling, Matilton, Mitchell, and Trevor Watson from Weaverville will be playing Junior College ball next year.
“This is the first time we have a guy getting looks by D1 schools, and four others playing college ball,” McCullough said. “Its pretty exciting.”