BASEBALL: Nevada County Miners strike gold at summer tourneys | TheUnion.com

BASEBALL: Nevada County Miners strike gold at summer tourneys

It started because they wanted to have some fun and play the sport they love into the summer months.

When it wrapped up, they had achieved their goal and earned a couple of tournament titles along the way.

The Nevada County Miners, a group of local baseball players 18 years old and younger, banded together for a highly successful three-tourney journey this summer, competing in River City Travel Ball tournaments around the Sacramento area against other Northern California teams.

"The best things about these types of teams and summers like this is just having fun with a group of young men that love playing baseball," Nevada County Miners head coach Scott Wheeler said. "It certainly helps to win and I want to go out and compete every time. But, when we started the team this summer, we said the No. 1 priority is we're going to make sure baseball is fun, and I think we accomplished that."

After a month of baseball, the Miners had claimed championships in two of the three tourneys, including Sunday's Summer Sizzle Tournament in Del Campo. The Miners also won their very first tournament, a seven-team tourney in Woodland July 1.

"Early on it was pitching and defense. Pitching and defense kept us in every game," Wheeler said. "In the third tournament, for the first half of the tourney, it was pitching and defense and luckily late Sunday… all of a sudden our bats came alive and that propelled us to this last tournament win."

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In addition to the wins and fun that was had on the three-tourney run, Wheeler said he was encouraged to see the older players on the team helping the younger players improve their game.

"It was great to see a lot of mentoring from the older guys to the younger guys and hopefully that helps the high school going forward," Wheeler said.

The Nevada County Miners are mostly comprised of former and current members of the Nevada Union high school baseball program. The team included Luke Cornish, Owen Day, Zach Ehrlich, Dom Garrity, Ethan Garrity, Cody Jiannino, Bennett King, Kai LaBarbara, Andrew Long, Trevor Nielson, Noah Sims, Dustin Thompson, Mathew Tintle, Jace Wheeler and Matt Zeman. They were coached by Scott Wheeler, Mike Day, Phil King and Anthony Jiannino.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.