By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
Michelle Stacey swung for the fences and went over them with one mighty swing of her bat.
Stacey, of the Del Norte High softball team, hit a home run on the very first pitch to her in the first inning against Eureka on Wednesday to bring in McKinnze Holden and give the Warriors a quick 2-0 lead.
"I just saw the ball and said (to myself) ¬ĎOh yeah,"' she said, adding she knew she had a chance to take it out of the park when she saw the pitch.
The positive vibes continued as the Warriors earned the crucial 8-4 win over the Loggers.
Previously tied for first in the Big 5 Conference standings with Eureka, the victory moves Del Norte into sole possession of first with a 6-1 mark. Overall, the Warriors are 16-2 for the year.
"I'm really excited to be in first," Stacey said. "We've worked really hard."
Head coach Jackie Heuberger commended her team for playing solidly throughout the game and not letting the Loggers back into the contest on several occasions.
"The girls just came together," she said. "They were excited throughout the game."
On Tuesday, practice did not go as well as the players or coaches would have liked, Heuberger said. She was pleased to see the team put that behind them and go out on Wednesday and play well.
Before the game started, a steady drizzle began. Early in the game, enough rain came down to delay the contest a few times. Eventually, the weather cleared up and it was sunny skies the rest of the way.
Del Norte jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second when Paula Rhodes stole home from third base on a wild pitch.
The Loggers attempted to keep it close, scoring a run in the third, two in the second, and another in the fifth, but could not seem to find a way to get back in the game. They did have their chances, such as having the bases loaded with two outs. But Del Norte always seemed to shut the door.
Pitcher Alyssa Bergquist, who threw 15 strikeouts in a one-hitter versus McKinleyville last Saturday, had another solid pitching performance, throwing six strikeouts.
Jennifer Gustafson went 2-for-3 with a run. Holden went 1-for-1 with two runs, a walk and was hit by a pitch.
Stacey had a 3-for-3 day from the plate, with a home run and two runs.
Del Norte next plays on Friday at home in doubleheader action versus Arcata.
The contest starts at 2 p.m.