Del Norte Little League received two District 26 championship banners over the past two days, courtesy of its All-Star softball teams.
The 11–12 Softball All-Stars took down Eel River Little League of Fortuna, 6-4, on Tuesday night in Fortuna. Del Norte centerfielder Rachel Higgins made a backhanded catch for the final out, sealing the victory.
“It was just a battle to produce a run each inning,” coach Tim Nolan said. “This was a pitchers’ duel. The bats weren’t singing. But we got on base and stole like crazy.”
Del Norte finished with a perfect 3-0 record in the double-elimination tournament. Brook Nolan started all three games for the 11–12 All-Stars, going the distance in the championship game.
“The staff (assistant coaches Travis Stover and Aaron Healy) worked hard,” Nolan said. “The fans being there helped us ... a big thank-you to the parents and loyal Del Norte fans.”
Team members include Nolan, Antonia Acala, Chloe Luna, Jacobi Cox, Josey Carlson, Tvshiina Jacobs, Caitlyn Herrera, Higgins, Payten Healy, Hannah Baldwin, Tayler Melton and Kallie Roth. The 11–12 All-Stars will continue their season at a regional tournament in Martinez on Saturday.
The 9–10 All-Stars were crowned District 26 champions after their opponents, Redwood Empire Little League of Eureka, were deemed ineligible for using players from Eureka Little League on a combined All-Star team.
“(District 26’s governors) allowed them to be in this tournament just to show how crooked they are,” said Del Norte Little League President Sean Harper. “People down here chose to keep us in the dark. Supposedly everyone had been made aware of this three weeks ago. Nobody ever told Del Norte. I’m livid.”
Del Norte’s only loss in the district tournament came against the Redwood Empire team on Tuesday night, a 16-5, five-inning defeat. The teams played a game on Wednesday afternoon (Redwood Empire won, 20-12, in McKinleyville) that did not end up counting.
“I’m super proud of our girls,” 9–10 All-Stars coach Mark Horner said. “They’ve worked hard and played hard. We should’ve been able to win (the championship on the field). For the girls to get cheated out of that is sort of frustrating. I feel bad for McKinleyville. They were beaten out by Redwood Empire (to get to the championship game).”
Team members include Shelby Horner, Lacee Coopman, McKenzie Fernandez, Allison Douglas, Tamesha Jordan, Megan Proctor, Hailey Stover, Hailey Price, Ayliah Rafalowski, Amaris Folkins and Addy Tiffany. The 9–10 All-Stars will continue their season at a regional tournament in West Sacramento on Saturday.
The 9–10 All-Stars are hosting a car wash fundraiser for their trip to regionals today at 10 a.m. in the Pizza Hut parking lot.
The Del Norte 11–12 Baseball All-Stars took fifth place out of 11 teams in their District 26 tournament in Fortuna this week, going 2-2 in tournament play.
Del Norte was eliminated by Eel River in an 11-2 defeat on Tuesday night, scoring its only runs in the top of the first inning. Johnnie Rafalowski singled in a run with the bases loaded, and Trent Bruschi walked in another run.
Eel River scored two runs in the first inning and six runs in the second inning, keeping Del Norte at bay for the rest of the game.
Ryan Janeiro and Rafalowski each singled twice for Del Norte.
Cole Harper, Carter Costello and Janeiro represented Del Norte on the all-tournament team, as voted on by the all-star coaches. Costello allowed one unearned run and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings pitched and batted .333 (4-12) for the tournament. Harper hit .500 (6-12) for Del Norte, while Janeiro hit .450 (5-11) in Del Norte’s four games.
The Del Norte 10–11 Baseball All-Stars went 0-2 in their District 26 tournament, held in Arcata.
Del Norte lost its first game to Redwood Empire, 13-0, on Sunday.
“They were an excellent group of hitting kids,” coach Byron Gardner said. “There was nothing we could do. We were throwing strikes.”
On Monday, the Del Norte All-Stars fell to McKinleyville, 10-3. Gardner was complimentary of Jorge Landeros — “he played a phenomenal game on defense” — and Collin Mattz.
“He had a good day catching and hitting,” Gardner said of Mattz.