Few plays at the plate

By Robert Husseman, The Triplicate May 03, 2012 12:00 am

DN offense records six hits in 3-0 loss

Del Norte’s Colleen Markussen throws one of her 96 pitches against Fortuna on Wednesday afternoon. The Warriors lost to the Huskies, 3-0. Markussen struck out five, walked one and allowed nine hits in a a complete-game loss but injured her right hand during the game. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Del Norte’s Colleen Markussen throws one of her 96 pitches against Fortuna on Wednesday afternoon. The Warriors lost to the Huskies, 3-0. Markussen struck out five, walked one and allowed nine hits in a a complete-game loss but injured her right hand during the game. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
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.

Del Norte third baseman Ayashe Padon snags a ball out of the air during the Warriors’ 3-0 loss to Fortuna on Wednesday. Padon went one for three with a single against the Huskies. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Del Norte third baseman Ayashe Padon snags a ball out of the air during the Warriors’ 3-0 loss to Fortuna on Wednesday. Padon went one for three with a single against the Huskies. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
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.

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