The Del Norte High softball team rode a roller coaster of emotion in Wednesday’s Senior Day game against Arcata High.
First came heartfelt sadness, spurred on by the celebration of seven departing seniors. Then came anxiety, as a heavyweight brawl of a softball game broke out and spilled over into extra innings.
Last came pure elation. Del Norte first baseman BreAnna Moore’s double bounced over the centerfield fence and scored pitcher Camryn Ridgley in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 1-0, walk-off victory at Del Norte High School.
“It was the first one I’ve ever (hit that went) over the fence,” said Moore, a senior and the daughter of Warriors head coach Tom Moore. “I was pretty happy.”
A tumultuous season marked by inconsistency ended on a high note. Del Norte finishes the year with an 11-13-1 overall record, third in the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League (6-6).
“It’s been a rough (season), but it’s been fun,” Tom Moore said.
“This was a close, excellent game. I love playing Arcata. They’re a great group of girls.”
Tigers pitcher Kayla Reed limited the Warriors to six hits, striking out six. No Del Norte batter advanced past first base until the eighth inning, as Reed’s pitching and the Arcata defense kept the Warriors firmly in check.
“The defense was awesome today on both sides of the field,” Moore said.
“I wanted to go out with something I’ll remember,” Ridgley said.
The game will certainly be tough to forget. Both teams combined on seven hits through seven innings as Ridgley, Reed and their respective defenses put on a show. Arcata had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers’ best chance at a run, but Ridgley struck out Arcata’s Madeline Nutter on three pitches to force extra innings.
“I loved how intense it was,” Del Norte senior leftfielder Falyn Bruhy said. “It’s a great end to my Warrior career.”
Warriors catcher Kiera Davis and second baseman Sami Morrow each had infield hits in the eighth inning, but a pair of flyouts ended the brief rally.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Ridgley singled to left and Marissa Van Dyke was hit by a pitch. Cortney Penner popped out before BreAnna Moore stepped up to the plate.
Moore hit the first pitch she saw from Reed over Nutter’s head and over the fence, cementing a memorable day — and season — for fellow seniors Ridgley, Bruhy, Van Dyke, Penner, Morrow and Rachele Whitson. All seven were promptly struck with the emotional weight of the day.
“Tom is the best coach,” Morrow said. “We’re all going to miss him very much. We love you, Tommy.”