By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
It's been a challenging season for the Del Norte Grizzlies American Legion baseball team this summer.
The squad is 6-12 for the year, although with a few breaks here and there, head coach Eric Enos believes his team could easily have a better record.
The Grizzlies were supposed to play a doubleheader today at home against the Southern Humboldt Patriots as well as an away games against them on Tuesday. Those plans changed late Thursday, when their coach called to say he would not be able to field a team on those dates. The Grizzlies hope to possibly play another team to make up those games.
Last weekend at the Fortuna Fourth of July Tournament, an incident occurred off the field that resulted in two game suspensions for five players and one player being kicked off the team for "inappropriate decision making" and "violation of team policy," Enos said.
"It's just something in the back of your mind that you hope never happens," he said. "But it did, and you have to move on." But, Enos said, there have been a lot of positives as well.
He gives his team a lot of credit for remaining focused, playing tough and not giving up.
Enos said his team has done a good job hitting the ball and running the bases.
"They have been doing what I've been asking them to do," he said.
The problem has been in the lack of pitching. Only two players, Kevin Walsworth and Justin Yslas, have had substantial pitching experience.
And Walsworth got injured when he was cleated in the ankle and missed five and a half games before coming back recently on a hitting-only basis. Enos had hoped to have him pitch for at least an inning today. The Grizzlies next play in Eureka on Friday.
While the remaining pitchers have done the "best they can," their lack of experience in the position has been an issue, Enos said.
Recently, Robert Harrison, 19, who played for Del Norte High in 2006, was given a letter of intent by the College of the Redwoods baseball coach, who had seen him play at a tournament in the Eureka area and told him he would like him to join the team.
Harrison, who plays first base, said he's excited to get the chance to play at the college level.
"It's my dream to play college ball," he said. "It's awesome."
Last weekend at the tournament in Fortuna, the Grizzlies went 2-3.
Walsworth performed strongly at the plate, going 3-for-4, with three RBIs in a 6-3 win against the Southern Humboldt 76ers, and went 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs in a 6-2 win against Oroville. Andrew Getman went 2-for-3 with a run in that game.
Jon Enos also had a good tournament, going 2-for-3 with two RBIS against the 76ers and 1-for-3 with two RBIs in a loss to the Northern Humboldt Giants. Garret Standring also went 2-for-4 with two runs in that game.