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'Cats claim Father's Day tournament title
Playing back-to-back games in triple-digit temperatures didn't slow a prepared Colusa County Channel Cats Junior American Legion team, as it claimed the Sutter Baseball Club Father's Day Tournament title on Saturday.
Colusa advanced to the championship game against the Prospects baseball club out of Pleasanton by defeating Yuba City in the play-in game.
The Channel Cats cruised to a 10-4 win in the championship game against the Prospects, an under-16 wood bat club which Colusa defeated 5-0 on Thursday in the first game of the tournament.
"The kids knew it was going to be hot today and they came prepared mentally and played through it, so I'm very proud of the kids," Colusa manager Sonny Badaluco said.
After several slow starts in games early in the season, the 'Cats coaching staff worked with the team to get them to play well in the early innings, according to Badaluco.
In both games Saturday the Channel Cats built large leads early and were able to keep the players on the field fresh by subbing in nearly everyone on the bench.
"Coming into this tournament that was a big theme, lets try to jump on teams early, if we can. That way we can put the throttle down on them early and take them out of the game mentally," Badaluco said.
One of the reasons the team was able to start strong is the players are getting to know each other better. Last year Colusa had just one player from Colusa County on its roster but this year it's about a 50-50 split between players from outside the county and within.
"The kids are getting along, they all get together and they have a good time together," he said. "You want them to gel together because they're going to play well on the field together and they trust each other a little more now."
Chad Perry struck out the side in the top of the first inning and T.J. Dove led off the bottom half with a double, stole third and scored on a double-play ball off the bat of Blake Vierra to give the 'Cats a 1-0 lead.
Perry breezed through the second inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced before Colusa plated five runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Stuart Bradley doubled to right field and Cody Myers walked ahead of Conner Herrick, who drove them both in with a double, and Luke Corriea sent Herrick home with a single to right field.
Dove reached on a hit-by-pitch before Michael Woods scored Corriea with a double to left field and Vierra drove in Dove with a sacrifice fly.
Perry struck out the first two batters in the third before the Prospects reached base for the first time on a single over the second base bag, but Perry escaped the inning unscathed with his eighth strikeout.
Colusa added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth after Corriea led off the inning getting hit by a pitch before Dove, Vierra and Andrew Sutton doubled.
Perry left the game after the fifth inning with a 9-0 lead, his final line reading a dominant 11 strikeouts to three hits and two walks.
Correa took over in the sixth and nearly escaped the inning without allowing a run but a two-out error, three walks and a hit batter led to three unearned runs.
Sutton drove in Vierra with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the sixth inning giving Colusa a 10-3 lead and after the Prospects added another run in the top of the seventh, the Channel Cats claimed the title with the 10-4 victory.
Colusa 10, Yuba City 4
The Channel Cats took a 10-0 lead into the fifth inning but Yuba City resisted falling prey to the 10-run rule on a two-out single and tacked on three runs in the top of the seventh on Saturday.
Yuba City's fifth-inning run was the first scored against the Channel Cats during the tournament after Colusa shut out its first three opponents.
Perry fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle. The first baseman smashed an RBI triple in the first inning, added a double in the second and hit an RBI single in the fourth.
Woods held Yuba City to one run on five hits for five innings before giving way to Jacob Clayton, who closed the game out.
Woods reached base in all four at bats, collecting a hit and a walk and reaching on two errors. He scored twice and drove in a run. Dove went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI, Herrick doubled and Sutton hit two sacrifice flies.
Colusa 17, Oroville 0
Colusa County avenged its season opening loss with a 17-0 thrashing of the Oroville Thundercats on Friday.
Clayton picked up the win with five strikeouts in two innings and Hayden Bailey closed out the game with three scoreless innings, striking out four.
Perry tripled and homered for the 'Cats to lead an 18-hit attack that featured doubles by and Woods, Herrick and Vierra.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.