Prep Roundup — Pitching, defense lead Crusaders past Middletown 


Photos by Ray Hamill/ – St. Bernard’s Caleb Ruiz pitched five shutout innings on Friday night

The St. Bernard’s Crusaders got the season off to an impressive start on Friday night, with some solid pitching and solid defense highlighting a 2-0 win over Middletown at Bomber Field in Eureka.

The game was played as part of a doubleheader, with Middletown defeating Ferndale 7-1 earlier in the evening.

Caleb Ruiz pitched the win for the Crusaders, with Bode Joyner coming in to relieve the starter for the final two innings.

“It was an outstanding game, and they just did a great job,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said of his two pitchers. “It was a very exciting way to open the season.”

Defensively, the play of the game came in the top of the sixth with the Crusaders holding a slender 1-0 advantage, when they turned a spectacular double play to preserve the lead.


St. Bernard’s pinch runner Peyton Smith dives safely back to first base on Friday night.

With two runners on base, shortstop Lane Thrap fielded a ground ball, stepped on second, and threw to first base, where Cole Petrusha dug the ball out of the dirt to complete the play.

“That was kind of the play of the game,” Tomlin said.

Thrap also led the way at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 and scoring one of his team’s two runs.

Freshman Taholo Vainuku-Johnson got the other run in his high school debut.

The Crusaders will now turn their attention to Tuesday’s Little 4 opener against Ferndale, which will also be played at Bomber Field.

“We played good defense, we pitched well, and we’re excited for Tuesday,” the head coach said.


The Ferndale Wildcats prepare for Middletown on Friday afternoon.

Middletown 7, Ferndale 1

The Wildcats struggled in their first game in two weeks, dropping to 1-1 on the season.

“We need to play better, in every aspect of the game,” head coach Justin Andersen said.

Austin Hughes got the start on the mound, and took the loss, with Jenner Christiansen and Landon Gomes pitching in relief.

Hughes also got the team’s only RBI, driving home Gomes in the seventh.

The Wildcats will try to put the loss behind them quickly, with Tuesday’s Little 4 opener against St. Bernard’s looming.

“We’ve got a lot of things we need to work on before Tuesday,” Andersen said.

Fortuna 10, Willits 4

The Fortuna Huskies got their first win of the year at Willits on Friday.

Sheaden Kadle posted the win on the mound, with Wyatt Wilson coming in to record the save.

At the plate for the 1-2 Huskies, Kadle and Garrett Aust each finished 2-for-4, while Branson Gans was 2-for-3.

McKinleyville 6, Kelseyville 3

The Panthers kept the winning momentum going with their second three-run win of the week.

After knocking off Middletown in a shutout on Monday, the Panthers followed that with Friday’s road win in Lake County, improving to 2-0.

The Panthers are scheduled to play a pair of games against Kelseyville and Clear Lake on Saturday, weather permitting.


Eureka 3, Tamalpais 7

The Loggers dropped their season opener in Marin County on Friday, but looked solid at the plate for their first game.

Raime Young led the way, finishing 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run, while Sadie Hampton got her sophomore campaign off to a strong start, going 2-for-4 with a triple and a pair of runs scored.

Sophomore Alexa Moorehouse took the loss in the pitcher’s circle in her Eureka debut, showing plenty of potential with six strikeouts.

Sadie Wilkinson and Karyn Jensen each added a base hit and an RBI in the loss, with the latter also walking twice.

Next up, the Loggers are scheduled to play a doubleheader at Lower Lake on Tuesday.

Fortuna 16, Middletown 6

Renee Metz led the way at the plate as the Huskies got their season off to a winning start in a five-inning game at Middletown.

Metz was red hot at the plate and reached base five times, finishing 3-for-3 with a double, two walks and four runs scored.

Lorelei Martinez also had a big day, finishing 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.

In the pitcher’s circle, Jackie Duncan posted the win.

Saturday’s scheduled game at Willits has been canceled due to the expected rain.

McKinleyville 9, Fort Bragg 1

The Panthers made it two wins in two days by beating the Timberwolves in Fort Bragg.

On Thursday, the McKinleyville girls scored 13 runs in the second inning on the way to a 21-1 win at Ukiah in five innings.

The Panthers are 2-0 on the season.

South Fork 24, Chester 1

The Cubs got the Anderson tournament off to a flying start in Redding on Friday, defeating Chester by 23 runs in four innings.

The Cubs scored 15 times in the third inning.

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