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16U Sixers win CWU Summer Series

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | July 9, 2024 3:00 AM

ELLENSBURG — The 16U Central Washington Sixers came out on top of last weekend’s 15/16U Central Washington University Summer Series, winning all three of their games in pool play before going 2-0 in bracket play Sunday.

The Sixers played in the 16U Summer Series the weekend prior as well, going 2-2 that weekend.

“We prepared to get going,” 16U Sixers head coach Jaret Fulbright said. “Did a lot with our hitting over the week to improve on that, worked on our defense quite a bit. With how hot it's been, we’re lucky to have our facility to be able to be indoors and still accomplish our practice needs out of the heat. We just prepared and worked on things we need to get better at defensively (and) offensively and continued with our bullpens on preparing for this last weekend.”

The tournament opened with pool play on Friday and Saturday, where Central Washington picked up an 11-1 win over the Yakima Lightning, a 10-0 win over the WA Rush 15U Black and a 10-0 win over the Boys of Summer.

First baseman Jacoby Fulbright led the Sixers with three RBI against the Lightning, while he, shortstop Ryan Martinez and third baseman Bodie Yale all collected two hits in the win. Fulbright once again paved the way in RBI with three against the Rush, with he and first baseman Raiden Haynes both having two hits. Fulbright had yet another three RBI game against the Boys of Summer, while right fielder Kolby Lyons recorded two hits in the win.

“The boys came out and hit the ball — hitting it to all of the field, and it didn’t matter who was in the lineup, we were getting on base and scoring runs,” Fulbright said. 

Central Washington pitched three no-hitters during pool play. Pitchers Jack Swedburg and Lyons combined for nine strikeouts against the Lightning; Aiden Garza and Martinez struck out seven Rush batters; Haynes pitched all seven innings against the Boys of Summer, recording 13 strikeouts.

“We’ve been talking to our players about preparation and being prepared for their moment when they need to come in and play, and sometimes it could be on a moment’s notice, especially for those pitchers that are coming out of the bullpen,” Fulbright said. “This weekend they came out and performed, for sure. It’s not very often you see at any level of ball a team only allowing five hits in five games.”

Bracket play opened Sunday with a 9-2 win over the Flames Baseball Club, where the Sixers scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Yale and Martinez tied for a team-high in RBI with two apiece, while Martinez and Stagner both collected two hits.

“It’s always important to get an early lead,” Fulbright said. “It allows our pitchers to go out and throw with a lead and not have to worry about who’s coming to bat.”

Yale got the start on the mound, pitching five innings with no hits allowed while striking out 10 Flames batters. 

“He comes in and tries to control the game, and that’s part of who he is,” Fulbright said of Yale. “He’s a big, dominant pitcher, and wanted to make sure that we come out and play well. When he takes the mount, you know you have an opportunity to win.”

Sunday evening’s championship game was played against BA Prep, which once again saw the Sixers jump out to an early lead. Haynes and Zayvier Olazcon drove in runs in back-to-back at-bats in the bottom of the second inning, with Central Washington holding on for the eventual 3-0 win. Pitcher Dagen Enquist got the start on the mound, surrendering three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

Fulbright said the team had familiarity with BA Prep pitcher Eli Nash, having played with him during past summer seasons.

“We knew (Nash) was going to be throwing to us, and we just took an early lead against him and with Dagen Enquist on the mound, I knew we had a chance to win,” Fulbright said. 

Games in the CWU Summer Series were played on the CWU Baseball Field, one of four collegiate stadiums the teams has already played at or will play at this summer; the team also played at Northwest Nazarene and will play at Washington State and Gonzaga in the coming weeks.

“The boys get pretty excited when they get to play on college fields, and fields in general that are really nice and get to play on,” Fulbright said. 

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

 

    Central Washington Sixer Raiden Haynes, in white, drove in the first run of Sunday’s championship game at the Central Washington University Summer Series.
 
 
Central Washington Sixers pitcher Bodie Yale pitches during a June 28 game in Moses Lake. Yale recorded 10 strikeouts in five innings during the semifinal round of the CWU Summer Series.