Youth baseball: SN Elite Miners win World Series title
The SN Elite Miners struck gold Sunday in Sparks, Nevada.
The 16-and-under travel team, developed through the SN Elite Baseball and Fastpitch Academy in Grass Valley, used solid defense, strong pitching and clutch hitting to earn the NCS Ultimate World Series 16U Championship and claim the flashy jewelry that comes with it.
“They really gelled, and their energy just kept getting louder and louder as the weekend went on,” said SN Elite owner and coach Justin Deme. “Everything just came together. They fully bought in. They were behind each other. They were positive. And, they knew they were going to win. It just had that feeling.”
Contending with 12 other teams at Golden Eagle Regional Park last week, the SN Elite Miners played seven games in four days en route to the title. The Miners went 2-1-1 in pool play and landed the No. 6 seed in the Gold Bracket. The Miners powered past the No. 3 seeded Idaho Cubs (Boise, Idaho), 5-3, in the first round of bracket play. They then topped the No. 7 seeded Outlaws (Merced), 9-1, in the semifinals to reach the title game against No. 4 seed BERC24-ATHAN (Pleasanton).
In Sunday’s championship bout, the SN Elite Miners got on the board first with two runs in the top of the fourth inning. BERC24-ATHAN answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie it up. The Miners jumped back ahead with two more runs in the top of the fifth, but BERC24-ATHAN tallied a run in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth to tie it up.
BERC24-ATHAN put a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but the Miners turned a double play to get out of the jam and send the game to extra innings.
SN Elite grabbed the lead for good in the top of the eighth inning with a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Brenden Pinney.
Clinging to a 6-4 edge, SN Elite relief pitcher Steele Witchek held BERC24-ATHAN scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to close out the game and start the celebration.
A SPECIAL GROUP
“They love baseball and they really came together this weekend, on and off the field,’ said Deme. “This is a group that really wants to be special.”
Ryne Allen got the start from the bump in the championship game and tossed the first 4 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out two. Witchek pitched the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out three.
In addition to the big hit by Pinney, the Miners also got RBI knocks in the game from Chase Nye, Ryder Celenza, Lucas Mackey and J.Z. Antonucci.
The Miners went 5-1-1 across four days of play in Nevada. They had a team batting average of .311, an on-base percentage of .436 and averaged 6.57 runs per game. Defensively, the team made just four errors across seven games. They had eight different pitchers take the mound, combining to strike out 46 batters.
Keisen Hayden was especially strong from the bump during the tourney, throwing 11 innings across two starts, striking out 19 and allowing just six hits and three earned runs.
Leading the offense throughout the seven games was Nye (10-for-19, three doubles, triple, home run, seven RBIs), Hayden (9-for-22, three doubles, six RBIs), Witchek (7-for-17, double, four RBIs), Celenza (7-for-19, three doubles, triple, six RBIs) and Mackey (6-for-17, double, four RBIs).
“They just clicked this weekend,” said SN Elite coach Jeff Nye. “They played pretty flawless baseball, not many errors and pitching was solid. They really grew as a team.”
The Ultimate World Series tourney was hosted by National Championship Sports, which is an amateur sports league that holds baseball, fastpitch softball and slowpitch softball events all over the United States. The tourney in Sparks, Nevada, featured teams spanning from the Bay Area to Idaho.
“I want to thank the parents,” said Deme. “The parents are a big part of it. They do a lot for the kids. I’m just thankful for all the parents who came up, supported the kids and supported us.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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