The Del Norte baseball team will host its first postseason game in a long time on Wednesday at the high school when the No. 10-seed Warriors take on 7th-seeded Acalanes, from LaFayette, at 4 p.m.
Del Norte celabrated a HDN league title on Friday and will be back at home for the first round of the North Coast section tournament on Wednesday beginning at 4 p.m. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
“It is great. It hasn’t happened for a long time here,” said Del Norte head coach Travis Johnson of getting a postseason home game. “The kids are pretty excited — I’m pretty excited too. Hopefully the fans will be excited and come down and watch. We don’t get this very often. Come down and enjoy it.”
Del Norte was guaranteed a spot in the 2014 North Coast Section Division 3 baseball bracket after finishing the season with a 16-6 overall record and a Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 championship. It was the Warriors’ first HDN baseball championship since 1998.
Acalanes finished the season 14-10 overall, but stumbled to a 6-6 record in the Diablo Foothills Athletic League and finished tied for fourth in the seven-team league.
Acalanes and Del Norte shared no common opponents this season. Johnson said that he hasn’t seen Acalanes play this year and doesn’t know much about them. He also suspects that Acalanes will be unsure of exactly what to expect when they show up on Wednesday.
“They don’t know what we are about and we don’t know what they are about,” he said. “We will just have to make adjustments as the game goes along.”
Without much of a scouting report available, Del Norte is just focusing on putting its best out on the field against Acalanes.
“We just want to play good defense, hit the ball and go from there,” Johnson said.
Del Norte has relied on its solid defense all season long, but the Warriors offense has also come around this year. Del Norte is hitting a .348 average at the plate for the season as a team. Nathan Porter’s average of .433 leads a cast of eight Warriors with at least 50 at-bats that are hitting .300 or above.
On the mound, Jonathan Calderon is the team’s workhorse, pitching 49.1 innings with a 2.13 ERA. He has four wins and three losses in 10 appearances for Del Norte.
Steven Maready had been called on nearly as much as Calderon, throwing 41.2 innings in seven appearances with a 3.02 ERA.
Johnson was especially impressed with how his team played down the stretch when Del Norte played nine games in the final two weeks in a race for the HDN championship. The Warriors were 6-3 in those games, which was just good enough for first place.
“I think we have been playing inspired,” Johnson said. “The kids really wanted to finish out the season strong. They knew they had a shot at the league title, and they just kept going at it one game at a time and it eventually came out in our favor.”