Del Norte hopes to play an aggressive, fast-paced brand of sofball with collection of quick players
The Del Norte High softball team has been improving steadily over the last couple seasons. The Warriors went from 3-9 in the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 in 2012 to 6-6 in 2013 for a third-place finish.
The Warriors expect that improvement to continue as they set their sights on the top of the conference this season.
"With the talent that we have this year, we are going to go a long ways," said head coach Tom Moore. "I believe that we are going to be pretty doggone good."
Del Norte has 13 players on the varsity roster, including five players from last year's varsity - three with starting experience. Although the Warriors need to replace a lot of starters from last year, they will be replaced with familiar faces.
"A lot of us have been playing together for a long time, so we should come together nicely," said catcher Kiera Davis.
Moore said Eureka and Fortuna, which have been atop the league standings in recent years, will probably be the teams to beat again this year. Del Norte is confident it will be in the running as well.
"As long as they maintain the attitude that we have in practice, we are going to have an excellent season - win or lose," Moore said. "But I think we have a pretty good chance to make it to sections this year."
The strength of the team will be its athleticism.
"As far as arms and wheels, we have got it," Moore said. "We are doing good. This is an extremely fast team. It is the fastest team I have had in my four years here."
Del Norte is hoping to use that overall team speed to play faster in the field.
"We want to make quick plays, have quick feet to the ball, make quick reads, everything needs to be upbeat this year," said second basemen Ericka Alcala.
Del Norte has already been exhibiting that quick thinking defensively in preseason practices.
"Right now, our defense actually has (put) a smile on my face because they are a little bit better than I thought we were going to be," Moore said.
The Warriors are also expecting to be aggressive with their speed offensively.
"We are going to do a lot of stealing," Moore said. "We have a lot of power too. But we are going to play small ball as well with some bunting. We are going to make the other team make errors and then take advantage of that."
Del Norte kicks off its season at home March 8 with a doubleheader against Arcata in a non-league action. The first game will begin at 11 a.m., the second game will start at 2 p.m.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .
March 8 vs Arcata DH 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
March 17 at Brookings 5 p.m.
March 18 at Illinois Valley 4:30 p.m.
March 21-22 at Anderson Tournament TBA
March 28-29 at Yreka Tournament TBA
April 9 at Fortuna 4 p.m.
April 26 at McKinleyville DH 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
May 2 vs Fortuna DH 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
May 3 Leave it in the Dirt BBQ 3 p.m.
May 6 vs Eureka 4 p.m.
May 7 vs McKinleyville 4 p.m.
May 8 at Eureka 2, 4 p.m.
May 14 at Arata 4 p.m.
May 16 vs Arcata 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
May 20-32 NCS Playoffs TBA