The Del Norte baseball team gave up a few free bases in the early going of Wednesday’s Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 league game and Eureka was able to turn those baserunners into points, jumping out to an early lead and holding on for a 9-4 win over the Warriors in Eureka.

Eureka’s first two batters of the game each reached base safely after being hit by a pitch, and came around to give the Loggers a 2-0 lead on an error by the left fielder in their next at bat.

Another walk in the second inning, coupled with three singles, allowed Eureka to put up four more runs and grab a quick 6-0 lead over Del Norte heading into the third.

“Walks hurt us in the beginning,” said Del Norte head coach Travis Johnson. “We had three walks in the first two innings, and they all scored. They got a couple more after that but that was pretty much all they got until late in the game.”

Del Norte answered the rally by loading the bases in the top of the third inning with just one out, but the Warriors couldn’t get any hits to drive in some runs.

In the top of the fifth inning the Warriors were finally able to break through and score. OJ Calleja and Kaden Ritter both drew walks to start the inning for Del Norte, followed by a single by Sebastian Puente. After a fly out to the outfield Jared Dixon drew a one-out walk, followed by another single by Justin Goudelock. Tanner Forkner then wrapped up the rally with a double to bring the Warriors within 6-4.

Eureka was able to re-establish its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, however. The Loggers put together a one-out rally by drawing a walk, then reaching base safely on back-to-back throwing errors by Del Norte. All three runners managed to come around to score in the inning to push Eureka’s lead back up to five runs.

“We had a couple of throwing errors to first base that allowed them to get a couple more runs on the board,” Johnson said.

The Warriors looked poised to push the Loggers once again in the top of the sixth inning, but couldn’t get timely hits when they needed them.

Calleja reached base on an error by the Eureka outfielder with one out in the inning, and Puente followed up the at bat with a single. Eureka’s pitcher managed to pick up a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but Dixon hit another single to load the bases.

The Loggers managed to escape the inning without any damage, however, as the next Warrior hitter flew out to right field.

“I think everybody played a pretty good game,” Johnson said. “The one thing that we definitely need to improve on is we left the bases loaded twice. All we needed was two or three base hits during that time frame and we would have beat them, but we couldn’t get that hit. We had a lot of hits, but they were spread out and not at the right time.”

Although Del Norte wasn’t able to get enough hits in a row to score as many runs as Johnson would have liked, the Warriors coach said he thought the team’s offense is starting to show signs of improvement.

“I think we just went up there swinging the bat this time and putting the ball in play,” Johnson said. “We still had a few strikeouts that were big when we had a chance to score some extra runs. I think if we eliminate that it will really help us to score more runs.”

With the loss, Del Norte falls to 4-8-1 overall this season, and the Warriors sit at 0-4 in HDN Big 5 games. Del Norte is scheduled to be back in action today, hosting a doubleheader against Eureka at Three Amigos Field in Crescent City.

The first of two games today is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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