Thumbs up for the Rincon Valley Little League baseball players who brought home a state championship in the age 10 and under division. The youngsters capped an unforgettable year with an 11-game postseason winning streak and their league’s first-ever state title.

Their achievements on the field were accompanied by challenges and tragedy off the field. The October wildfires burned into the Rincon Valley Little League complex on the northern outskirts of Santa Rosa, destroying more than $100,000 worth of league equipment. The fields and grandstands were spared in large part due to the efforts of a couple of older players, Bryce and Brady Cannon, who worked to keep the flames from spreading deeper into the facility. Then, last month, Tim Gillaspie, a longtime coach, was shot and killed while defending his family from an intruder.

“The whole community has gone through a lot, with the fires then with Tim,” said Todd Buonaccorsi, manager of the 10U all-start team. Now, they have something to celebrate.

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