Defensive errors plague Del Norte as team record drops to 0-6 this season
At the beginning of a doubleheader Tuesday against Brookings-Harbor High, the Del Norte High softball team came out mentally focused, ready to play.
As the games wore on, however, the Warriors lost their focus and, at times, their composure. Defensive mistakes, in particular, proved fatal.
"Little errors kill us in every sport," junior Ashton Smedley said.
The Bruins took advantage of the Warriors' mistakes in a sweep, winning the first game 2-1 and the second game 14-4.
"The first game was excellent," Del Norte coach Tom Moore said. "I'll take a loss like that any day of the week."
But in the second game, "it was errors that cost us," Moore added.
Senior pitcher Camryn Ridgley did not allow an earned run in the first game, a complete-game five-hitter for Ridgley.
"Even when the defense was falling apart, she stuck with it," Smedley said. "She was a good leader today."
Both of Brookings-Harbor's runs came in the third inning. Del Norte got one of the runs back when senior Cortney Penner singled in senior Marissa Van Dyke but was otherwise stifled by the Bruins' Hannah Goergen.
Warriors junior outfielder Falyn Bruhy was hit by a pitch leading off the bottom of the seventh inning. Smedley, the next batter, put the ball in play, and Brookings-Harbor committed two throwing errors attempting to force or tag Bruhy out. On an overthrow to third base, Bruhy broke for home but was tagged out a foot from the plate.
Del Norte (0-6 overall) would not get another opportunity to tie the game.
Van Dyke went 2 for 3 with a double for the Warriors, and junior Ericka Alcala ended the first game 2 for 4.
Ridgley started the second game but was tagged for five runs in the first inning. Smedley replaced her in the second inning and limited the Bruins' offense while Del Norte mounted a comeback.
One run came in the second inning, as a single by Alcala with the bases loaded drove in sophomore Colleen Markussen. Van Dyke scored on an attempted fielder's choice in the third; Smedley smacked an RBI double four batters later to bring Markussen home.
Junior Sammy Morrow's groundout to second in the fourth inning brought Alcala home and tightened the score to 5-4.
Brookings-Harbor (4-4 overall) took over from there. The Bruins scored three runs in the fifth inning and five in the seventh inning, taking advantage of defensive errors and pitches in the strike zone.
"They're beating themselves," Moore said of the Warriors. "They just need to adjust and get mentally focused."
Smedley finished the second game 2 for 3 with her two doubles. Alcala went 2 for 4.
Del Norte travels to Yreka for a Friday-Saturday tournament and begins play against Hoopa High on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Until then, the Warriors have two days of practice to work on correcting little errors.
"It's a preseason game," Smedley said. "It's good that we can work from this."
Reach Robert Husseman at firstname.lastname@example.org .