Point Arena falls in NCS baseball

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Point Arena, playing its first NCS championship baseball game in school history, gave up four unearned runs in the first inning and never recovered while losing the Division VI title to host St. Bernard’s, 10-1, on Saturday.

The Pirates committed five errors in the first inning and eight overall, most of those because of jitters rather than the soggy conditions in Eureka.

“We fell apart in the first inning,” coach Jerry Moyles said. “The team was ready to play, but we started out making a couple of errors and then the kids pressed.
“They had us down and like good teams do, they didn’t let their opponents get back in the game.”

Both teams had perfect league records and were the top seeds in the bracket. St. Bernard’s went 12-0 in Humboldt-Del Norte Little 5 with Point Arena won all 10 of its North Central II-North games.

While Point Arena had been playing solid ball until the title game, St. Bernard’s had been invincible. The Crusaders had won their last eight games by a combined score of 101-7.
Point Arena relied on good pitching all season, allowing opponents less than three runs per game while winning 19 of 23.

Even though St. Bernard’s scored 10 on Saturday, pitcher Ozzie Fuentes gave up only four hits.
The Pirates also had four hits, two by Will Stornetta and one each by Billy Arana and Fuentes.
Cody Johnsen got the complete game victory, consistently throwing his fastball in the high 80s.
Shortstop Jorge Cazares said Johnsen mixed his fastball with a sharp-breaking curve.

“He was always around the plate and didn‘t walk a batter,” the junior said. “St. Bernard’s is the best team we faced all year.
“We’ve never had a defensive game like that, but we never quit trying.”

The infield was covered with a tarp until game time and the teams played through several downpours.

“I don’t think rain affected us,” Moyles said. “It was hard to throw balls that rolled in the outfield, but it was the same for both teams.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team. They got to an NCS final and no other team from Point Arena made it that far.
“My motto is ‘winning isn’t everything, but a winning effort is.’ The kids didn’t give up, they fought to the end. It just wasn’t our day.”

Moyles is already looking forward to 2012.
Ten of the 14 players on this year’s roster will return, including two of his top three pitchers (Fuentes and Cazares).

“We’ve won league two years in a row,” Moyles said. “With the nucleus from this team and some young kids coming up, I think we have a good chance to win it again.”

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