The Del Norte softball team completed an undefeated Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 regular season on Saturday in McKinelyville after wrapping up sole possession of first place in the Big 5 on Wednesday. The Warriors came back from an early one-run deficit in Game 1 for a 3-2 victory, and went on to take Game 2 7-3 over host McKinleyville.
The Panthers jumped ahead early on Saturday for a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but Del Norte pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the third inning to take a brief lead. McKinleyville tied the game back up at 2-2 in the bottom of the third.
After three scoreless innings by both teams, Del Norte was able to retake the lead with a run in the top of the seventh inning. This time the Warriors were able to keep the Panthers from answering, holding on for the 3-2 victory.
The Warriors stayed hot in the first inning of Game 2, taking an early 3-0 lead, but the Panthers stayed within arm’s reach by getting a run back in the bottom of the inning. Del Norte and McKinleyville each scored two runs apiece in the fifth inning to keep the Warriors’ advantage at two runs.
Del Norte was able to produce in the top of the seventh inning once again, adding two insurance runs to push its lead up to four.
With the win, Del Norte finishes the regular season with a perfect 12-0 Big 5 record. McKinleyville and Eureka finished in a tie for second place in the league this year at 7-5.
The Warriors are 20-3 overall this season and are currently in the midst of a 17-game winning streak after getting off to a 3-3 start this spring.
The Warriors are currently the top-ranked team in North Coast Section Division IV, according to maxpreps.com’s playoff prediction model. McKinleyville is currently the No. 3 team in the division, according to maxpreps.com.
The North Coast Section will release its playoff seedings and brackets on Sunday.
Before the Warriors move on to the NCS, they will try to win their first ever Humboldt-Del Norte League Tournament this week.
As the Big 5 league champion, Del Norte is the No. 1 seed from the league and has a bye for today’s first round games. The Warriors will start off in the semifinals, where they will face the winner of today’s Little 4 game between No. 2-seed St. Bernard’s and No. 3 Ferndale.
Hoopa was the undefeated league champion in the Little 4 this year and grabbed the league’s top seed in the tournament. Hoopa will play the winner of today’s game between Eureka and McKinleyville.