The Arcata Tigers will open the Big 5 at Fortuna High on Wednesday, and they’ll carry plenty of momentum into league play.
On Saturday, the Tigers remained perfect on the early season with a pair of wins at the American Christian Academy tournament in Redding, including a 7-0 win over Woodland Christian in the championship game.
Despite the early-season perfection, however, head coach Troy Ghisetti sounded a word of warning to his players afterwards.
“Preseason’s over, we’re starting 0-0 when we start league next week,” he said. “We’ve got to clean some things up. We had some base-running errors that cost us some runs.”
In other baseball action on Saturday, St. Bernard’s lost for just the second time this season, falling 5-1 to University Prep out of Redding, also at the ACA tournament.
The McKinleyville Panthers were also in action, improving to 7-0 with a pair of road wins.
Arcata 9, Lassen 5
Arcata 7, Woodland Christian 0
Once again the Tigers backed some strong pitching with offense from several different players, while showing plenty of character in the opener.
Lassen took a five-run lead in the first inning of the semifinal, but the Arcata bats rallied as pitcher Jaden Gorge held the Grizzlies scoreless the remainder of the way.
The Tigers’ offense got going in the fourth inning, and added three more runs in the fifth to pull within one run, before taking control of the clash with five runs in the sixth.
“The kids are swinging the bat and executing on the offensive end,” Ghisetti said. “Getting down 5-0, I thought they showed a lot of character to battle back.”
Freshman Vincent Agliolo and junior Merrick Sears each continued to impress for the Tigers, with three hits apiece, while Gorge had two hits and Xavier Finegan, Mason Trapkus and Porter Price one each.
In game two, the Tigers never trailed, taking a one-run lead in the first inning and adding four more in the second for a commanding early advantage.
Agliolo and fellow freshman Price were again instrumental at the plate and have adapted to life at the varsity level quickly.
Price was 3-for-3 in the win, while Agliolo was 2-for-2.
Xavier Finegan also had a big game, finishing 3-for-3 at the plate and pitching six innings for the win.
Finegan gave up just two hits and two walks, while striking out two.
Ben Narwold pitched one scoreless inning in relief.
Trapkus had two hits and Damien Sheldon and Gorge one each.
St. Bernard’s 1, University Prep 5
The Crusaders fell in the ACA semifinal round, dropping to 5-2 on the season.
Bode Joyner continued his impressive start to the season on the mound despite the loss, pitching seven strong innings.
The Crusaders, however, were unable to come up with the big hit on offense.
Freshman Cayden Lee had a sacrifice fly to drive home St. Bernard’s lone run.
The game was tied at 1-1 in the seventh, before a few late defensive breakdowns proved costly for the Crusaders, who closed out the three-day tournament with a 3-1 record.
St. Bernard’s plays at Eureka on Wednesday.
McKinleyville 4, El Molino 1
McKinleyville 10, Willits 0
The Panthers got in a pair of games on the road on Saturday, winning both to remain undefeated on the season and also setting themselves up nicely for the Big 5.
With the two wins, McKinleyville is now 7-0.
In game one, the Panthers trailed early before battling back to tie things up in the fifth, and then scoring three times in the seventh to take the lead.
Cameron Saso pitched six innings for the win, before Lance Lally relived him in the seventh to secure the victory.
At the plate, Kayden Redner and Lally each came up with a big hit to key the late rally.
In game two, Corbin Eichin got the win on the mound, pitching five of the six scoreless innings.
Jack Patton threw one inning in relief.
At the plate, Dustin Ireland capped a big day with three hits and two RBIs, giving him five hits over the two games.
“He’s been playing real well and he’s starting to hit the ball, he’s starting to heat up,” McKinleyville head coach Scott St. John said.
Chase Fisher had the big hit of the game with a two-run home run to right field, while Regan Wolfe hit a two-run double.
Overall, it’s been an impressive start to the season for the Panthers, who host Del Norte this coming week to open the Big 5.
“You know, I’m pleased with how our preseason has gone,” the coach said. “There’s still room for improvement. We’ve been playing really well defensively and getting really good pitching, but we need to hit a little better for sure.”
The league opener is scheduled for Wednesday but could be moved to Tuesday due to the weather.