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Valley youth baseball teams excel in fall ball, U12 boys champs

The North Bay Travel League under-12 age-division fall-ball champion Sonoma Cubs consisted of (front, lying down) Riley Phelan; (front, from left kneeling) Brady Armitage, Anthony Tommasi, Sam Fanucchi, Will Natuzzi and Jack Boydell; and (back row, from left standing) Nolan Dunkle, Dom Fiorito, Luigi Dito and Tanner Rozema. Not pictured: manager Johnny Armitage and coaches Curt Dunkle, Saul Rozema, David Boydell and Mike Fanucchi.

The North Bay Travel League under-12 age-division fall-ball champion Sonoma Cubs consisted of (front, lying down) Riley Phelan; (front, from left kneeling) Brady Armitage, Anthony Tommasi, Sam Fanucchi, Will Natuzzi and Jack Boydell; and (back row, from left standing) Nolan Dunkle, Dom Fiorito, Luigi Dito and Tanner Rozema. Not pictured: manager Johnny Armitage and coaches Curt Dunkle, Saul Rozema, David Boydell and Mike Fanucchi.

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Fall baseball was both a fun and productive for a group of Valley players from Sonoma Little League who competed on a pair of fall-ball teams and recently finished their autumn season with upbeat results.

Members of Sonoma Little League’s 11-year-old 2013 District 53 all-star championship team formed a traveling squad to play in the North Bay Travel League’s under-12 age division and the Sonoma Cubs played well through the two-month season to reach the postseason and ended up claiming the NBTL under-12 title.

After the successful regular season, the Sonoma Cubs were the third seed going into the playoffs, where they won three straight games and claimed the postseason tournament crown.

The Valley’s Cubs first beat the fourth-seeded Nor Cal Storm 13-4, then defeated the second-seeded Petaluma Aces 10-4 to reach the championship game, where they rallied from behind to upset the previously undefeated top-seeded Petaluma Impact by a 4-3 score.

Comprising the Little League fall-ball under-12 Sonoma Cubs – managed by Johnny Armitage and coached by Curt Dunkle, Saul Rozema, David Boydell and Mike Fanucchi – were Brady Armitage, Jack Boydell
, Luigi Dito, Nolan Dunkle, Sam Fanucchi, Dom Fiorito, Will Natuzzi, Riley Phelan, Tanner Rozema and Anthony Tommasi.

In their championship game win over the Petaluma Impact, the Sonoma Cubs were led by the combined three-hit-pitching effort, with eight strikeouts, of Dunkle, Dito and Boydell, who joined teammates Fiorito and Tommasi in contributing two hits each for the offense.

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Also compromised of players from Sonoma Little League, the Sonoma Stack under-9-year-old traveling fall-ball team competed in the season-ending annual Edge of Darkness Tournament at Sigman Park in Fremont and, as the second seed, registered four consecutive wins in two tourney days to reach the title game.

After defeating the East Bay Bandits 12-5, the Los Gatos Giants 10-5, the Alameda Attack 17-1, and the Los Gatos Giants 7-4 in the semifinals.

The Sonoma Stack under-9 boys then faced top-seeded San Francisco Dons in the championship game and rallied from a late 4-2 deficit to first tie the final, then take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth and final frame.’

But Sonoma had to settle for a second-place finish after yielding two runs and dropping a heartbreaking 6-5 decision to the tourney champion Dons.

The Sonoma Stack under-9 boys’ fall-ball team – managed by Johnny Armitage and coached by Jason Masciorini, Jay Gruendle and Pete Smith – consisted of Alex Anguiano, Brett Armitage, Sam Cutting, Luke Gruendle, Luke Guisto, Enzo Masciorini, Bear Melendez, Gianni Natuzzi, Carson Smith and Jaden Vides.