Coyotes compete in Western National Championships

The 65s and 70s win it all
By: Henry Mutz for The News Messenger
-A +A

Making a short trip south to the Sacramento Softball Complex in late July, four Lincoln Hills Coyote teams battled in the 2017 Senior Softball Western National Championships, with two capturing the tallest trophy.

Coyote 60s

The defending champion Coyotes 60s bracket featured14 teams from throughout the Western United States. On July 28, the Coyotes opened the seeding portion of the tournament falling to the Baker Boyz from Bakersfield 16-13, but then beat Auto Accessory Distributors from Oregon 17-14.  

Because of the large number of teams, bracket pay also started that Friday, with the Coyotes falling to Santa Cruz’s No Dice/Bay Photo Lab 23-20.

Saturday, the 60s bounced back to beat Quicksilver Plus from Northern California 20-13. The Coyote’s then knocked CJ&S Express from Phoenix, Ariz., out of the tournament 19-8.

The Coyote 60s finally ran out of gas Saturday evening, falling to The Crew 18-7.

Team defense was led by George Sylvia and Hal Kastner, with solid pitching from Jeff McClain. Leading hitters were Mick Privett, Steve Lambert, Sylvia, Barry Sasabuchi and McClain.

The Coyote 60s were scheduled to compete in the Hall of Fame Tourney in Manteca Aug. 12-13.


Coyote 65s

The Coyotes played a two-out-of-three-game championship series against Southern California’s GT-R-Done to capture the tournament crown.

JR Jackson was 17-for-20 at the plate, recording a .850 average. Dale Stephens led the team with excellent pitching and five players were named to the All Tournament team: Stephens, Jerome Bader, Bruce Chappell, Karl Hess and Jerry Maynard.


Coyote 70s

Securing the Coyote’s second Western National championship were the 70s, their fourth title of the year.

The tournament started badly, losing to a highly ranked team 13-12 in the final inning. However, the Coyotes then reeled off five straight wins to wear the crown.

The team did it with tremendous defense, pitching and timely hitting. 

The defense was led by outfielders John Moran, John Gho, Dick Hughes and Richard Norman. Doing a great job was Carlos Zavala, who was called upon to pitch all six games because of an injury to pitcher Nick Eterovich.

The infield committed just four errors in six games, consisting of Ron Rodda, John Dambrosio, Mike Bunyard and Dale Hurlbut. 

Clutch hitting provided the spark, led by Ron Swenson, Gho, Norman, Rich Conigliaro (3-2B) and Bunyard (5-2B, 3-3B), plus reliable left-handed hitter Roger Louthan led the team in batting average.

Missing the first day with an injury, Nick Fox came back to lend relief and hot hitting.

The win was the Coyote’s best effort of the year, upping their record to 23-8.

Coyote 75s

The fourth Lincoln Hills’ club started off winning the first two seeding games for the No. 2 seed. However, they lost two, close bracket games and were eliminated the third day of competition.  

The offense was again led by Gene Hanson (.737 OBP., 1.412 SLG pct., 12 hits, 3 HR, 3B and 11 RBIs). John Parks, Larry Manley, and Pete Savoia also provided great offense.

The infield turned many double plays and great catches were made in the outfield.

The 75s were also scheduled to play in the Manteca Hall of Fame at the Big League Dreams Fields.

Coyote 80s

The super seniors competed in the Lodi tournament at July’s end, the last 80s’ tournament. It all came down to the final game, but the Coyote 80s came up four runs short.

Hitting leaders were: Charlie Bryant (.900 OBP), Bob Hunter (.882 OBP, 1.200 SLG, 8 RBIs, 9 runs, 13 hits), Frank Pulino (.846 OBP, 11 hits), John Parks (.750 OBP, 1.143 SLG, 11 hits) and Larry Manley (.688 OBP, 10 RBIs, 11 hits).

Manley pitched all four games and was backed up by great defense.