Few plays at the plate

Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

DN offense records six hits in 3-0 loss

Del Norte softball coach Tom Moore has seen this storyline play out before: Good performances in the circle and in the field, squandered by a lack of offense.

Fortuna starting pitcher Morgan Harwood allowed six hits and one walk as the Warriors fell, 3-0, to the Huskies at Del Norte High School Wednesday.

"It's frustrating," Moore said. "We've got a better team than this."

Fortuna first baseman Courtney Christiansen went four for four with a double, driving in all three of the Huskies' runs. In the first inning, Christian hit a ball down the left-field line for an RBI single, the first run of the game.

Del Norte pitcher Colleen Markussen settled down from a shaky start

to force a pitchers' duel with Harwood. Markussen allowed nine hits -

six in the first six innings - and one walk in a complete-game loss,

striking out five and limiting the effectiveness of the Fortuna hitters

throughout.

"She's a freshman. She was on fire," Moore said. "She's an outstanding athlete."

Her catcher, Amber Babbitt, caught two Huskies runners stealing.

Shortstop Keirstyn Anderson and third baseman Ayashe Padon were tested

often defensively; both committed an error but combined to produce 10

outs in the field.

As the game progressed, the Del Norte offense struggled with timely hitting, stranding five of its seven baserunners.

Marissa Van Dyke went two for two for Del Norte, both singles. Van

Dyke, substituted into the game in the fifth inning, was the lone

Warrior with multiple hits.

Kathryn Gustafson recorded Del Norte's lone extra-base hit of the

day, a one-out triple to left field in the second inning. She did not

advance home; Babbitt and Jordynn Bertolini struck out in their ensuing

at-bats.

"We need to be more aggressive," Gustafson said. "We have to assume that (a pitch) is a strike.

"For me, it was pretty easy to hit off (Harwood). I just had to find the right pitch."

Gustafson came up to bat in the fourth and sixth innings with runners

on base and two outs. She made solid contact on the ball but flew out

to left field both times.

"That was frustrating," she said.

In the fifth inning, the Warriors had runners on second and first

with two outs, their first such instance in the game. Harwood struck out

Anderson swinging to quash the threat.

Fortuna's Christensen hit a two-run single off Markussen in the

seventh inning to give the Huskies' lead additional cushion. In

response, Van Dyke and Markussen hit back-to-back singles with one out

in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the potential tying run to the

plate.

Zena Welch popped out in foul territory for the second out. Anderson

was the next batter; after she took a called strike, Fortuna catcher

Callie Hayes picked Markussen off first base to end the game.

During her seventh-inning at-bat, Markussen apparently injured her

right (pitching) hand. Her status for Friday's game against

McKinleyville is questionable.

The Warriors dropped to 9-7 overall and 1-6 in Humboldt-Del Norte League play with the defeat.

Friday is also Del Norte's final home game of the season, and Senior

Day, to be held at 2 p.m. Moore expects the Warriors to make progress

toward solving their hitting woes.

"We can't seem to find the ball," he said.

Reach Robert Husseman at rhusseman@triplicate.com .

14022094
The Del Norte Triplicate
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