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'Cats claim first Junior Legion title
The Colusa County Channel Cats beat Grass Valley 7-1 on Sunday to win the Area 1 Junior Legion Tournament for the first time in team history.
Last year the Channel Cats fell one run short of advancing to the American Legion Junior State Tournament but pitching depth and timely hitting made sure that didn't happen again.
Colusa enters the six-team state tournament on Saturday in Yountville with a 38-5 record, with only two of those losses coming to California teams.
Based on its showing at several large tournaments the Channel Cats already received an invitation to play in the Western Region Tournament to play for a spot in the American Legion Junior Baseball World Series regardless of how the team does at the state tournament, assistant coach Eric Lay said.
The Channel Cats will enter the tournament with an at-large bid but don't expect them to sleep walk through the state tournament. If they win, their at-large spot would open up for another team.
One team from each of the six areas in the state will stay in Yountville for the tournament, Badaluco said.
To earn a spot in Yountville, the 'Cats went 4-1 in Placerville over the weekend. A 7-1 victory against Grass Valley in the title game Sunday helped ease the memory of a championship-winning steal of home by a Lake Davis player in a 3-2 loss last year.
For most of the season Colusa relied on a deep pitching staff but of late it's been the play of another player that's opened some eyes.
After hitting four home runs during the Best of the West Tournament in Eugene, Ore., July 6-10, Cameron Olson continued to destroy opposing pitchers, hitting four more home runs in Placerville.
"He's been locked in, it's pretty amazing," manager Sonny Badaluco said. "He squares the ball really well, he's patient and works the count."
Olson leads the team with 12 home runs and 63 RBIs but he isn't just a one-note power hitter. Olson is hitting .487 with 31 walks to just seven strikeouts all while playing the most physically demanding position on the field - catcher.
Trevor Anthony also had a big tournament for the 'Cats. Anthony contributed 11 hits in five games while driving in eight.
"Anthony had critical hits in every game, big hits," Badaluco said.
Colusa 7, Grass Valley 1
Chad Perry pitched a complete game allowing one unearned run in the 7-1 title triumph against Grass Valley on Sunday. Grass Valley beat Fair Oaks to earn a shot at the 'Cats.
Anthony hit a two-out two-run double in the third inning and another RBI single later in the game.
Olson went without a home run for just the second time in the tournament but contributed three hits.
Timmy Zucco drove in two runs on two hits and Jake Phillips doubled in a run. Cameron Boomgaarden added an RBI.
Fair Oaks 14, Colusa County 4
Normally one of the team's best pitchers, Nolan West struggled to find the strike zone against Fair Oaks as the Channel Cats lost 14-4 on Saturday.
"He just didn't have his stuff," Badaluco said. "He had six walks and they had timely hits."
The rare poor start accounted for nine of the 12 runs West gave up in 48.1 innings this season and his ERA jumped to 1.30.
Andrew Sutton doubled twice and drove in two runs and Anthony drove in two runs on two singles. Boomgaarden hit two singles.
Colusa County 18, TC Legion 4
Olson and Zucco homered for the Channel Cats in an 18-4 victory on Friday at El Dorado High in Placerville.
Perry picked up the win after striking out three in two shutout innings.
Jake Phillips brought in five runs on three hits while Olson and Zucco drove in three apiece.
All-told, Colusa banged out 14 hits and nursed seven walks to remain undefeated in the tournament.
Colusa County 16, Fair Oaks 8
Before losing to Fair Oaks on Saturday, the 'Cats crushed them in a 16-8 win on Thursday.
West tossed three shutouts innings for the win while striking out four. Timmy Zucco struck out another four Fair Oaks hitters in his three innings on the mound.
Olson and Phillips both hit two home runs and Zucco sent one over the fence as well.
Anthony went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and two runs scored.
Colusa County 13, South Humboldt 3
Sutton and Olson each homered and drove in three runs to lead the Colusa offense to a five-inning 13-3 opening round win against South Humboldt on Wednesday.
West added a double among his three hits to drive in two more runs for the 'Cats.
Michael Woods earned the win with two innings of two-hit baseball before a stable of three relievers finished out the game.
Eight Colusa batters reached base on a hit.
Contact Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.