The Eureka softball team managed some clutch hits to score late runs in both games of a doubleheader on Monday, and the Loggers managed to escape Crescent City with 8-6 and 10-8 wins over Del Norte.
With the wins Eureka completed a sweep of the regular season series between the two teams, but the Warriors held a lead in all three contests with the Loggers this season.
“Overall we saw some good play,” said Del Norte head coach Jackie Heuberger. “The girls were right in there for most of it. We are just still trying to work on our resilience and our ability to bounce back and not feel defeated before we are beat. The girls were just a little bit flat and tired today. Kind of the hard part is trying to get them motivated, and Eureka showed up to play today.”
Del Norte had chances to pull out wins in both games on Monday. In the first game of the day the Warriors held a 6-4 lead heading into the sixth inning. Eureka managed to score two runs apiece in the sixth and seventh inning to come from behind for the win, however.
In the second game of the day the Warriors held a 5-3 lead after three innings, and the score was tied up at 6-6 through the fifth and sixth innings. Once again Eureka managed to pile on a few runs late with a four-run seventh inning to pull out the victory.
Heuberger said she thought some of her players got a little bit psyched out with the game on the line, which affected the play of the entire team.
“They definitely feed off of each other,” Heuberger said. “If one girl is having a bad game everybody gets kind of down and grumpy. We talked after the game about how they have to pick themselves up. They need to be resilient, give themselves a few minutes, and bounce back in. They need to know that their energy affects other people.”
One of the highlights of the day was the performance of Del Norte’s trio of pitchers against Eureka.
“We saw some good pitching today,” Heuberger said. “The girls came out and Amaris (Folkins) pitched really well, Tamesha (Jordan) pitched really well, and Josephine (Heuberger) pitched probably two of the better innings that I have seen her pitch. It was a good combination of the girls pitching — that was probably the best part of the game.”
Jordan has been the team’s ace pitcher all season, and threw more than half of the innings for Del Norte, going eight-plus innings between the two games despite not starting either contest.
Folkins, a junior, pitched the first three-plus innings of the first game. Josephine Heuberger, a freshman, started game two going two-plus innings. Jackie Heuberger said having more than one effective pitcher was a huge boost to the team.
“I think that Tamesha is more effective when she doesn’t have to throw so much in one day,” Heuberger said. “I want to use her in both games, so if I can get two or three innings out of another pitcher before she comes in then it is less on her, and it gives her the opportunity to be more effective as a pitcher. It is especially important after they have seen her one time already in a single game. They were setting up for her, and then they didn’t hit as well against Josephine and Amaris.
“Unfortunately they just don’t have the experience to pitch longer because they just don’t have as many tools as Jordan. We are just trying to develop them as pitchers before next year. So giving them more opportunity to play this year is going to really help them be better next year.”
Defensively the Warriors ended up with five errors for the day — two in the first game, and three in the second — but Del Norte also made some impressive plays in the field.
“Some good plays were made we had a double play in there where the girls were thinking ahead, they knew were the play was, and they thought about things before they happened,” Heuberger said. “Shelby also had a really good play where she went hard for the ball and got an interference call, rather than sitting back and waiting for the ball. Maddy (Burchell) worked really hard behind the plate like she always does — there weren’t many passed balls. So overall we saw some good play.”
Offensively Heuberger said she thought the Warriors were a little bit sluggish.
After recording 15 hits in a 10-8 loss in Eureka on April 3, the Warriors bats were much more quiet throughout the doubleheader on Monday.
“We only got 13 hits in two games today, and we had 15 hits in one game off of them last time,” Heuberger said. “I just don’t feel like the girls were here to hit today. They were kind of flat. We also had some baserunning mistakes that hurt us, and we weren’t able to execute when we needed to. I did notice that we aren’t striking out as much, which is nice. We just aren’t hitting the ball in places where we can get hits. Eureka made some great plays out there too.”
Burchell led Del Norte offensively in the first game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Kaleya Sanchez also had a pair of hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. McKenzy Fernandes went 1-for-2 while drawing a walk and hitting an RBI. Laycee Coopman also had a strong first game in the doubleheader going 1-for-3 with a run scored, a walk, and reaching base safely on an error.
Coopman also did well at the plate in game two, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and two RBIs. Coopman also took advantage of a Eureka error once again to reach base safely in all four of her plate appearances. Heuberger also did well at the plate in game two, going 2-for-3 with two runs and a stolen base.
Folkins and Shelby Horner both recorded RBI in the second game of the day as well.
With the loss, Del Norte falls to 1-8 in Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 games this season. The Warriors will wrap up league play next week with a three game series against Fortuna, starting with a single game in Crescent City on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Del Norte will be back in action on Friday and Saturday, however, with three non-league games at the Arcata Tournament.
The Warriors are scheduled to start play in Arcata at noon against Hoopa Valley. Del Norte will take on Elsie Allen on Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by a game against Cloverdale at 1 p.m.