DN 9–10 All-Stars win two in Calif. Division II tournament
Two charged batteries have kept the Del Norte Little League 9–10 Softball All-Stars running smoothly at the California Little League Division II Tournament in West Sacramento.
The Del Norte Little League 9–10 Softball All-Stars won their first two games of California Little League Division II Tournament play. Courtesy of Travis Stover
Del Norte took down Antioch Little League, 4-2, on Saturday morning and defeated American Canyon Little League, 12-3, on Sunday morning. Del Norte will play Chico Little League today at 6 p.m. for the opportunity to advance to the tournament semifinals.
“We’ve got the team to do it,” Del Norte coach Mark Horner said.
“These girls need to hold their heads high. They’ve really done something. They’re making Del Norte proud. It’s nice to know that the community’s behind us and able to help us out. We couldn’t do it without our sponsors.”
As with the District 26 Tournament that Del Norte won last week, the Division II Tournament operates under a double-elimination format. A loss to Chico does not spell the end of the 9–10 All-Stars’ season.
Tamesha Jordan excelled in a virtual pitchers’ duel against Antioch on Saturday morning, pitching a complete game while striking out 10 batters. Jordan helped her cause with a 2-for-2 performance at the plate.
Ayliah Rafalowski went 1 for 3 in the game and “made quite a few plays defensively” in the infield, according to Horner.
“It was small-ball play” that won Del Norte the game against Antioch, Horner said.
“We took advantage of the baserunners that we did get on. Aggressive baserunning is what won us the game. And when you hold a team to two runs, you’re playing some pretty good defense.”
Allison Douglas took to the circle for Del Norte against American Canyon and also pitched a 10-strikeout complete game, allowing just one run before the sixth inning. Douglas went 3 for 4 at the plate as the Del Norte bats picked up with a vengeance.
The Del Norte 11–12 Softball All-Stars, shown here practicing on June 28, lost their first-round game of the 11–12 Division II Tournament to Gilroy Little League. Del Norte Triplicate/Robert Husseman
Shelby Horner and Laycee Coopman each went 3 for 4 in the game, Coopman finishing a home run short of the cycle. Jordan and Rafalowski went 2 for 4 against American Canyon, and McKenzie Fernandez went 2 for 3.
Shelby Horner, Mark Horner’s daughter, caught Del Norte’s first two games and is expected to catch against Chico tonight.
“One of the toughest jobs on our team is wearing that (catcher’s) gear in 100-degree weather,” Mark Horner said.
Ah yes, the heat. West Sacramento has enjoyed high temperatures in the triple digits for the duration of the tournament, 30 to 40 degrees warmer than in Del Norte County. Horner said that hydration and cooling down was a priority, and while the 9–10 All-Stars required an adjustment period, they are playing unfazed as the tournament continues.
“Heat is a big deal,” Horner said. “That’s our number-one element. Mother nature is our biggest enemy right now.”
Sixty miles down Interstate 80, in Martinez, the Del Norte 11–12 Softball All-Stars were affected by the heat in their Division II Tournament opener.
Del Norte lost to Gilroy Little League, 17-1, on Saturday evening and face an elimination scenario.
“These girls are troopers just to go out there and play as hard as they can,” Nolan said. “We made mental errors (against Gilroy). The girls know it’s do-or-die time.”
Del Norte was scheduled to play its first game in the losers’ bracket Monday at 6 p.m. Results were unavailable at press time.