Although Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 play will not kick off until next week, the Del Norte baseball team already got a peek at a league opponent on Tuesday. The Warriors hosted Arcata at Three Amigos Field and came away with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Tigers.

“I think we did a good job defensively,” said Del Norte head coach Travis Johnson. “We started off slowly hitting the ball, but I think by about the third inning we started to hit the ball, make some plays on offense and forced a few runs across the plate.”

Arcata got on the scoreboard first, pushing a run across the plate with a pair of singles in the second inning. The Warriors were able to tie the game back up in the third inning, however, after senior pitcher Luke Hardy reached base on an error, stole second, and was driven home on a single by Cole Harper.

The Warriors added another run in the fourth inning when Kaden Ritter reached base with a single before being driven home by Sebastian Fabricius.

Arcata managed to answer with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning to retake the lead at 3-2, but the Warriors still weren’t done scoring.

Del Norte opened the fifth inning with a single by Harper and senior Sebastian Puente smacked a base hit that rolled past the outfielder and to the fence, allowing Harper to come home and Puente to get all the way to third base. Kaden Ritter immediately brought Puente home with another single to retake the lead at 4-3.

“We got more aggressive at the plate,” Johnson said of the Warriors’ improved offense through the middle of the game. “We were letting too many pitches go by in the beginning and it put us in a hole. They just started making better swings and getting better looks.”

Hardy made the start for the Warriors and looked good in the early going, allowing two hits and striking out three Tigers through the first four innings of the game. Hardy eventually left the game with an injury after colliding with an Arcata defender while running to first base.

“His knee kind of puffed up a little bit. Hopefully we can just get some ice on it and he will be ready to go,” Johnson said.

Puente came in to relieve Hardy in the fifth inning and came away with the win. Puente allowed just two hits and two runs (one earned) through three innings while striking out one batter.

Harper led the Warriors offensively, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for Del Norte. Puente, Ritter, Jorge Landeros and Ryan Janeiro also recorded hits for Del Norte in the game.

Tuesday’s game against Arcata wasn’t originally on the schedule for Del Norte, but Johnson said the Warriors and Tigers decided to get together at the last minute just to get a game in while the weather was dry.

“Both teams were looking for an extra game because we each had a tournament get rained out and lost a couple games,” Johnson said. “We just decided that we would throw a game together and see how it went.”

Del Norte has also added a road game against St. Bernard’s to its schedule this year, set to take place on April 26.

The Warriors will be back in action today with a home game against Gold Beach starting at 4:30 p.m. Del Norte will wrap up the week with a neutral-site game against Clear Lake in Arcata with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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