The Del Norte High baseball team’s Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League games have followed a disturbing trend.
“One inning always messes it up,” Warriors sophomore Jonathan Calderon said.
On Saturday, a six-run inning and a five-run inning by Eureka High led to a doubleheader sweep by the Loggers — 10-3 and 6-1 — over the Warriors at Del Norte High School.
Calderon was the victim of the first big inning, as Eureka tagged him for six runs on seven hits to open up the first game. The Loggers scored two more runs in the second inning, but would not score again until the seventh.
“Other than one inning, Johnny pitched great,” Warriors head coach Travis Johnson said. “He did phenomenally. He always does.”
Del Norte (5-15 overall, 1-10 HDN Big 5) batters were retired in order in each of the first three innings before junior Nathan Porter’s RBI single scored junior Chris Bray in the fourth inning.
Josiah Johnson singled in Austin Healy in the sixth inning and Casey Nelson scored on a Loggers throwing error in the seventh — too little run production, too late.
In the second game, Del Norte pitcher Luke Seats and Eureka pitcher Caleb Lee were knotted in a pitchers’ duel, combining to allow three hits in the first five innings. Warriors senior Josh Barriga reached first on an error in the fifth inning, later scoring when the Loggers catcher overthrew third base on a steal attempt.
Eureka (14-9, 9-2 HDN Big 5) tied the game on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly and Seats walked the first two batters of the seventh inning. Porter replaced Seats and committed two errors on hit balls and walked a third batter, allowing four runs to score. Travis Johnson tapped Austin Healy to relieve Porter, and the Loggers scored their fifth run of the inning before the side was retired.
Steven Maready walked to open the bottom half of the seventh inning for the Warriors, and the game was delayed shortly after when a Eureka assistant coach was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Barriga, the second batter, flew out, bringing up Dylan Pease. Pease was hit in the forearm by a pitch and allowed to take first base, but the umpires reversed the call and ruled that Pease swung and missed the pitch.
Johnson left the dugout, argued the call and was promptly ejected to the cheers of the Warriors faithful.
“I can’t stand thinking about him,” Johnson said about the umpire who ejected him. “You can print whatever you want.”
Pease struck out looking, and Maready was caught attempting to steal second to bring about a hard-fought game’s bitter end.
“They showed a lot of heart in that second game and hung in there,” Johnson said.