The Del Norte softball team accomplished a feat that no Humboldt-Del Norte team had since 2012 — beat Eureka.
The Warriors came out strong offensively to build an early lead and hang on for a 5-2 victory over Eureka in Crescent City on Thursday.
The Loggers came into the game with a 17-game HDN Big 5 winning streak, starting on May 16, 2012. In 2013 the Loggers rolled through league play with a perfect 12-0 record, winning all 12 games by an average of 7.42 runs.
Eureka looked dominant early in league play again this season, starting 3-0 and out-scoring their HDN opponents 29-7.
“It is a huge confidence booster,” said Del Norte head coach Tom Moore. “Now it is just up to the girls to take it and run with it.”
Del Norte jumped in front of Eureka immediately. After starting their first at bat with two straight outs, first baseman Regin Loftin and third baseman Grace Bruschi got the offense going with singles. Outfielder Kaylen Gomes followed that up with a two-RBI double to complete the two-out rally.
The Warriors added two more runs in the second inning to grab a confortable 4-0 lead.
“Everybody contributed,” said Warriors assistant coach Rick White. “The only people that didn’t get on base today moved runners. It was a total team effort.”
Although the Warriors’ offense struck early, it was the defense that completed the upset. One day prior, Del Norte let a 2-1 lead slip in the seventh inning due to errors before falling 4-2 in Fortuna. Against Eureka, however, the defense held. It was the first game all season that Del Norte didn’t allow an unearned run.
“Defense was the difference,” White said. “Yesterday (Fortuna) got four outs an inning. Today, it was only three outs per inning. That was a huge difference.”
Del Norte pitcher Colleen Markussen had a good showing against the highest scoring offense in the HDN, scattering six hits through seven innings. She recorded three strikeouts while walking two and hitting one batter.
“My rises and inside pitches were working,” Markussen said.
The Del Norte coaches have learned to expect nothing less from the junior hurler.
“That kid is just phenomenal,” Moore said. “The longer she goes, the better she pitches. She has a big heart, and she throws her butt off. She also holds together very well. Even with her defense behind her screws up, she is still busting her butt out there and pitching well. She is a big boost for the team.”
The Del Norte coaches also credited catcher Kiera Davis for the solid pitching performance.
“Not only is Colleen pitching, but her and (catcher) Kiera Davis are working together to call the game,” said Del Norte assistant coach Julian Markussen. “Kiera has over a 4.0 — she is very smart. Those two are on the same page.”
Coaches said it was the most complete game that the team has played this season, but it shows the potential that Moore has seen all year long.
“The team came out and played like the team we have,” Moore said. “If they continue to play like this, it is self explanatory. We have a rocking team. It is just these little errors that plague us throughout the game, but today, we had a couple errors, but they came out and played.”
The Warriors are hoping that the win can jump-start the team, which started the season 4-8 in the non-conference and now sits at 1-1 in the HDN Big 5.
“It just feels good to be able to win a game that we feel we should be winning,” Markussen said. “We are here at home, it’s our first home game, and we capitalized. To hand them their first lost was great.”
The Warriors will be back on the diamond today with a double header in McKinleyville beginning at 11 a.m.