After a couple days of waiting out the rain, the Del Norte softball team finally got its Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 league season going on Friday.
The Warriors played a sound game defensively, but left too many runners on base to keep pace with McKinleyville, as the Panthers remained undefeated for the season with a 10-0 home victory over Del Norte after six innings.
“McKinleyville is a strong team, and they hit the ball a lot. (Panthers coach Shanna McCracken) has 10 seniors and every single one of her starters is a senior. They are a strong team and they have a lot of experienced starters. They are going to be tough to beat. I can’t imagine that they will have a loss in league this year.”
The Panthers hit the ball all game long, finishing with 10 basehits for the game. Defensively Del Norte played a pretty sound game, however, making plays when they were availible.
“We only had two physical errors in the field this time,” Heuberger said. “They were hitting the ball really hard to left field. Freshman Molly Slayton was out in left field and she caught almost everything hit to her — she did such a great job.”
Even with Del Norte making plays, McKinleyville managed to put up a run or two in every inning on its way to the win. The Panthers scored one run apiece in the first and second innings. Then scored two in the third, three in the fourth, one in the fifth, and two more in the sixth inning to trigger the 10-run rule.
Once again the Warriors managed to make some noise on offense, but struggled to score. Del Norte had at least one runner reach base in every inning, but the Warriors couldn’t string together enough offense to push a run across the place.
Josephine Heuberger lead the Warriors going 2-for-3 at the plate, while McKenzy Fernandes went 1-for-2 with a double and drew a walk. Molly Slayton and Kaleya Sanchez both went 1-for-2 as well.
“Unfortunately we left eight runners on base, and we just couldn’t score any runs,” Heuberger said. “That is frustrating.”
Heuberger said she hopes to see the Warriors get a little bit more aggressive at the plate, especially with a rematch against McKinleyville today, in the form of a doubleheader.
“We are seeing good pitching, and we just need to make the adjustment,” Heuberger said. “We saw 11 first-pitch strikes and we just didn’t get into the box mentally prepared to swing the bat... They started almost every at bat behind in the count.
“When the pitcher gets ahead in the count like that they can start throwing you junk to get you to chase. I’m hoping that the girls will make the adjustment for tomorrow. Knowing that you have to get in the batters box and be ready to hit — be more aggressive.”
Del Norte will host McKinleyville for two more games today, starting at 11 a.m. at Del Norte High School.
The Warriors will enter the first game with a 2-8 overall record, 0-1 in the Big 5. McKinleyville improved to 6-0 and 1-0 with Friday’s win.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .