Only two seniors — Luke Seats and Josh Barriga — remained on the Del Norte High baseball team long enough to be honored during Wednesday’s Senior Day home game against Arcata High.
But boy, do Seats and Barriga know how to close out a career.
With the Warriors trailing by four runs entering the seventh inning, Seats scored the game-tying run on a wild pitch, and an errant throw from the Tigers’ catcher struck Seats in the chest and allowed Barriga to score the game-winning run.
Del Norte secured its sixth win of the season, 8-7, in one of the wildest walk-off scenarios imaginable.
Seats was also the game’s winning pitcher, as he was not charged with a run in the final 1 2/3 innings, during which the Warriors (6-15 overall, 2-10 Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League) executed their comeback.
The first five innings of the game were relatively mellow offensively. Nathan Porter, the starting pitcher for Del Norte, allowed two runs in five innings of work. At the plate, Steven Maready’s RBI single in the third inning and Austin Healy’s run scored on a fifth-inning error allowed the Warriors to keep pace with the Tigers (12-11, 4-8 HDN Big 5).
Healy relieved Porter in the top of the sixth inning but was touched up for five runs in 1/3 of an inning. Seats replaced him and walked the first batter he faced (allowing a run to score; that run was charged to Healy) before inducing the final two outs of the inning.
Healy grounded out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, plating Barriga. In the seventh inning, Porter hit an RBI single and Seats hit a two-run single before the fateful wild pitch.
Del Norte High head coach Travis Johnson participated in Senior Day activities but left the baseball field before the game began. Johnson was serving a league-mandated suspension after being ejected during the Warriors’ doubleheader against Eureka High on Saturday.
Del Norte assistant coaches Mark Pease, Nick Jager and Terry Cromwell coached the team by committee in Johnson’s stead.