The Del Norte softball team picked up its first Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 win of the season on Friday in the second game of a doubleheader in Arcata.
After falling to the Tigers 6-0 in Crescent City on Wednesday and dropping a competitive 13-10 game in the first game on Friday, the Warriors managed to bounce back in the final game of the series for an 8-6 victory.
“It was so exciting,” said Del Norte head coach Jackie Heuberger. “The girls worked really hard for it. They were super resilient and battled back from being behind off and on throughout the game. They did a good job and they deserved it. They are definitely the more athletic team. Their hitting really showed today and they ran the bases well. It is unfortunate that it came so much later in the season than we hoped but it is a good start before we play the last five games to know that we are capable of doing a lot of good things and putting it all together to get wins.”
The series opened with a single game in Crescent City on Wednesday with the Warriors offense struggling. Del Norte only managed a handful of baserunners throughout the game and were held scoreless by the Tigers.
“We didn’t hit. We only had four hits in the game, and we struck out 11 times,” Heuberger said. “When we aren’t even putting the ball in play it makes it really hard. It is frustrating too, because we have the ability to hit the ball. Their pitcher is a lefty, which is a little bit different because we have only ever faced one other left-handed pitcher this season, and that was at one of our tournaments.”
The Warriors also struggled in the field on Wednesday, making five errors which allowed four unearned runs. Arcata scored two runs in the fourth inning, and four more in the fifth inning to grab the 6-0 victory.
On Friday, Del Norte played much better in all phases of the game.
“They hit the ball, they ran the bases, and we capitalized on their mistakes,” Heuberger said. “I think the biggest thing, though, is that we didn’t give up. We made a lot of mistakes, but we came back and we didn’t stay flat. They continued to hit and work hard. That was kind of the key thing.”
Del Norte and Arcata traded the lead back and forth through the first couple innings of the first game on Friday, but the Tigers started to pull away through the middle of the game, taking a 12-6 lead with a five-run fifth inning. The Warriors managed to push four runs across the plate in the final two innings stay close, but Arcata held on.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Del Norte once again fell behind as Arcata scored two runs in the top of the first inning. The Warriors were able to answer with three runs in the top of the second inning to take the lead and tacked on another run in the fourth inning to go ahead 4-2.
Arcata pushed back in front 5-4 with a three-run fourth inning and went ahead 6-4 with another run in the fifth inning, but the Warriors weren’t rattled.
Once against Del Norte managed to put together a comeback and this time the Warriors came all the way back for the win.
Laycee Coopman scored a run in the sixth inning to cut Arcata’s lead in half.
Trailing 6-5 in the top of the seventh inning, Del Norte seniors Shelby Horner, Kaleya Sanchez and Coopman all managed to reach base and come around to score to put Del Norte ahead 8-6. The Warriors gave up a couple singles in the bottom of the seventh inning, but managed to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard and hold on for the win.
Del Norte expanded its pitching staff a little bit for Friday’s doubleheader, taking some of the load off of ace pitcher Tamesha Jordan.
“It was nice to get Josephine (Heuberger) and Amaris (Folkins) pitching today,” Heuberger said. “Josephine pitched the first two innings of the first game, and Amaris pitched the first four innings of the second game. I think using some other pitching was really helpful for us. They didn’t really hit our pitchers that much. We unfortunately just made some mistakes defensively.”
Del Norte has next week off before returning to action on April 22 when the Warriors will make up their doubleheader against Eureka in Crescent City.