Little League: 2 local teams hoist banners

Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Del Norte Little League received two District 26 championship banners over the past two days, courtesy of its All-Star softball teams.

The 11andndash;12 Softball All-Stars took down Eel River Little League of Fortuna, 6-4, on Tuesday night in Fortuna. Del Norte centerfielder Rachel Higgins made a backhanded catch for the final out, sealing the victory.

"It was just a battle to produce a run each inning," coach Tim Nolan said. "This was a pitchers' duel. The bats weren't singing. But we got on base and stole like crazy."

Del Norte finished with a perfect 3-0 record in the double-elimination tournament. Brook Nolan started all three games for the 11andndash;12 All-Stars, going the distance in the championship game.

"The staff (assistant coaches Travis Stover and Aaron Healy) worked

hard," Nolan said. "The fans being there helped us ... a big thank-you

to the parents and loyal Del Norte fans."

Team members include Nolan, Antonia Acala, Chloe Luna, Jacobi Cox,

Josey Carlson, Tvshiina Jacobs, Caitlyn Herrera, Higgins, Payten Healy,

Hannah Baldwin, Tayler Melton and Kallie Roth. The 11andndash;12 All-Stars will

continue their season at a regional tournament in Martinez on Saturday.

The 9andndash;10 All-Stars were crowned District 26 champions after their

opponents, Redwood Empire Little League of Eureka, were deemed

ineligible for using players from Eureka Little League on a combined

All-Star team.

"(District 26's governors) allowed them to be in this tournament just

to show how crooked they are," said Del Norte Little League President

Sean Harper. "People down here chose to keep us in the dark. Supposedly

everyone had been made aware of this three weeks ago. Nobody ever told

Del Norte. I'm livid."

Del Norte's only loss in the district tournament came against the

Redwood Empire team on Tuesday night, a 16-5, five-inning defeat. The

teams played a game on Wednesday afternoon (Redwood Empire won, 20-12,

in McKinleyville) that did not end up counting.

"I'm super proud of our girls," 9andndash;10 All-Stars coach Mark Horner

said. "They've worked hard and played hard. We should've been able to

win (the championship on the field). For the girls to get cheated out of

that is sort of frustrating. I feel bad for McKinleyville. They were

beaten out by Redwood Empire (to get to the championship game)."

Team members include Shelby Horner, Lacee Coopman, McKenzie

Fernandez, Allison Douglas, Tamesha Jordan, Megan Proctor, Hailey

Stover, Hailey Price, Ayliah Rafalowski, Amaris Folkins and Addy

Tiffany. The 9andndash;10 All-Stars will continue their season at a regional

tournament in West Sacramento on Saturday.

The 9andndash;10 All-Stars are hosting a car wash fundraiser for their trip

to regionals today at 10 a.m. in the Pizza Hut parking lot.

Baseball teams knocked out

The Del Norte 11andshy;andndash;12 Baseball All-Stars took fifth place out of 11

teams in their District 26 tournament in Fortuna this week, going 2-2 in

tournament play.

Del Norte was eliminated by Eel River in an 11-2 defeat on Tuesday

night, scoring its only runs in the top of the first inning. Johnnie

Rafalowski singled in a run with the bases loaded, and Trent Bruschi

walked in another run.

Eel River scored two runs in the first inning and six runs in the

second inning, keeping Del Norte at bay for the rest of the game.

Ryan Janeiro and Rafalowski each singled twice for Del Norte.

Cole Harper, Carter Costello and Janeiro represented Del Norte on the

all-tournament team, as voted on by the all-star coaches. Costello

allowed one unearned run and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings pitched

and batted .333 (4-12) for the tournament. Harper hit .500 (6-12) for

Del Norte, while Janeiro hit .450 (5-11) in Del Norte's four games.

The Del Norte 10andndash;11 Baseball All-Stars went 0-2 in their District 26

tournament, held in Arcata.

Del Norte lost its first game to Redwood Empire, 13-0, on Sunday.

"They were an excellent group of hitting kids," coach Byron Gardner

said. "There was nothing we could do. We were throwing strikes."

On Monday, the Del Norte All-Stars fell to McKinleyville, 10-3.

Gardner was complimentary of Jorge Landeros - "he played a phenomenal

game on defense" - and Collin Mattz.

"He had a good day catching and hitting," Gardner said of Mattz.

Reach Robert Husseman at rhusseman@triplicate.com .

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