The Del Norte baseball team looked sharp in the first game on Monday to kick off the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 season. The Warriors played a strong all around game en route to a 5-1 victory to stretch its win streak briefly to six games. Arcata was able to take advantage of a couple Warrior miscues in the second game, however, answering back with a 6-1 victory to split the doubleheader..
“I’m glad that we got a win today. It would have been nice to get two, but that just means we are going to have to go down to McKinleyville (Friday against Arcata) and get one there,”said Del Norte head coach Travis Johnson. “Our goal is to win two out of three against all the teams – you have a good chance of winning league if you do that. We are still in it, we just have to make sure that we come to play on Friday down there.”
In the first game of the day, Luke Hardy and the Del Norte defense kept Arcata at bay. Hardy pitched a complete game for Del Norte, allowing just four hits and a run while striking out two and walking one.
“When he has the ability to command the strike zone with multiple pitches he is tough to hit,”said Del Norte assistant coach Sean Harper. “He throws a good heavy sinker, and when he is able to get his slider over and his change over he is pretty tough. I thought he did a really nice job today.”
The Warriors committed just two errors in the first game, and neither mistake ended up costing Del Norte any runs.
“It was probably one of our better defensive performances,” Harper said.
Del Norte was able to build its lead in the second inning when Sebastian Fabricius knocked a bases loaded double into the gap in left field to bring Kaden Ritter and OJ Calleja in to score. Jorge Landeros made it 3-0 in the next at bat with a sacrifice fly ball to right field.
Sebastian Puente put the Warriors back on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with an RBI single to bring Cole Harper back to the plate for a 4-0 lead.
Arcata pushed a run across the board with back-to-back base hits in the top of the fifth, but Del Norte quickly answered back in the bottom of the inning. The Warriors had a nice two-out rally with Landeros, Harper and Ryan Janiero all smacking singles to regain at four-run advantage at 5-1.
“We got to one of the better pitchers in the league this year,” Harper said. “I have coached Jaden Gorge for the past three summers and he is a strike thrower, he knows how to pitch and he can drop any pitch at any given time. So we did a nice job at the plate and we ran the bases well.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, Del Norte’s bats went cold while Arcata seemed to heat up.
The Tigers jumped on top in the first inning with a lead off single. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second base, the Tigers stole third base and came home when the throw sailed into the outfield.
Del Norte had a couple defensive mistakes in the second game, and couple generate any offense to make up for it.
“We did not hit the ball very well. I thought our pitching did a good job, but for some reason our offense just couldn’t get going,” Johnson said. “We had a couple of miscues defensively that didn’t help our cause, but I think the main thing was we just couldn’t hit the ball to get us back in the game.”
Del Norte finished the second game with just five hits through seven innings. The Warriors finally got a couple hits in the same inning in the seventh, when Jackson Reese smacked a one-out single and Fabricius knocked another three batters later for a two-out RBI single.
Del Norte will be back in action on Friday taking on Arcata in McKinleyville with the first pitch set for 1 p.m.
“Hopefully our bats come alive again,” Johnson said. “We can’t have another down game like we did today, because normally we hit the ball really well.”