Host Eureka got off to a hot start in its doubleheader against the Del Norte softball team with a home run in its first at bat of the season, but the Warriors regrouped and were able to come away with a 2-0 start to the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 season.
The Warriors used a big fourth inning in Game 1 to erase the Loggers’ early 1-0 lead and held on for a 4-1 victory. Del Norte carried its momentum into the second game, where it jumped out to a 6-0 lead en route to a 10-1 win.
“We won both games. That was a good thing,” said Del Norte head coach Pablo Lorenzi. “I think we played a little bit tight in the beginning, and we gave up a home run right off the bat. The good thing about that was that we didn’t get frazzled. We basically shut them down after that, then we were able to score some runs.”
Eureka pitcher Alyssa Jiminez got the Loggers off to a strong start with a home run on a full count to kick off the bottom of the first inning, after holding the Warriors scoreless in the first inning.
The Del Norte defense was able to settle down after that, however. Warrior pitcher Allison Douglas struck out the next two Logger batters and retired the next eight hitters in order to keep the Warriors within a run.
Del Norte had a base runner in each of the first two innings and finally pushed some runs across the plate with a big fourth inning.
Tvshiina Jacobs opened the inning with a single, followed by a double by Douglas and another single by Maddy Burchell to grab a 2-1 lead. The Warriors were able to take advantage of a pair of Eureka errors later in the inning to take a 4-1 advantage.
“We kind of created some havoc, and they started throwing the ball around and making mistakes,” Lorenzi said. “We were able to capitalize on those mistakes.”
Jacobs and Douglas both finished the first game 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Warriors offense. Del Norte finished with eight hits in the first game.
“The big thing about the first game is that we didn’t get down, and we didn’t get frazzled after giving up a lead-off home run,” Lorenzi said. “That was a really good thing. They showed a little bit of maturity and their belief that we can bounce back. We executed when we needed too.”
In Game 2, Del Norte jumped on top in the second inning and never looked back.
“In the second game we came out and played a lot looser,” Lorenzi said. “We actually hit the ball really well. A lot of the time we hit it right at people, but that happens sometimes.”
The Warriors picked up a total of 12 hits in the second game, but even Del Norte’s outs had a little bit more zip, according to Lorenzi.
“We were just a little bit more patient, we were seeing the ball better, and we were just taking better swings,” he said. “Even when we were fouling the ball off they were just smoking it. We had a few people that had some long at-bats.
“There were a few times when people had two strikes on them and they worked their way into a walk, a base hit or created a productive out. That was a lot better in the second game.”
The Warriors scored a run in the second inning, five in the fourth, and two each in the fifth and sixth innings to grab a 10-0 lead. The Warriors were nearly able to end the game an inning early by the mercy rule, but Eureka was able to scratch out a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to force a seventh frame.
Douglas pitched every single inning for the Warriors, finishing with five strikeouts in the first game with no walks and 10 strikeouts in the second game with no walks.
The lead-off home run in game one was the only earned run Douglas surrendered in 14 innings on the mound.
“She got better and she got stronger,” Lorenzi said. ‘It seemed like as the day went on her location got better.”
With the win, Del Norte is off to a 2-0 start in league play, and sits at 8-3 overall this year. Lorenzi said the Warriors home game against Eureka, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed due to Del Norte’s spring break. Both teams are still working on finding a suitable replacement date.
Instead, Del Norte will be back in action the following Wednesday in Arcata for the first of their three game series with the Tigers.
Lorenzi said the Warriors will use the extra practice time between games to really home in on a few small areas that the team can improve in nearly every phase of the game.
“We are just going to focus on two or three things that we need to focus on hitting-wise, two or three things that we need to do on the bases, and two or three things we need to work on on defense,” he said.