Eureka had to dig deep on Wednesday on the way to edging Del Norte 10-9 to open the Big 5.
The Loggers trailed 8-2 after four innings, before rallying to score eight times in the fifth and sixth innings on the way to pulling out a dramatic victory.
The win was the fourth straight and seventh in eight games for Eureka, which improved to 7-2.
In other local softball action on Wednesday afternoon, St. Bernard’s defeated Ferndale 12-2 to take over sole possession of first place in the Little 4.
A scheduled game between Arcata and McKinleyville for top spot in the Big 5 was postponed due to field conditions.
The game has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday at Arcata High.
Del Norte 9, Eureka 10
After traveling 1,300 miles during the opening month of the season, the Loggers finally played a home game on Wednesday, and it was worth the wait.
Eureka climbed out of a six-run deficit with a thrilling comeback, scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out the win.
“We had a really, really terrible defensive inning,” Eureka co-head coach Katelyn Graeser said. “But we managed to come back. We chipped away.”
Del Norte scored eight times in the top of the fourth to take command of the game and appeared well on the way to a first league win after dropping three games to McKinleyville over the weekend.
But it wasn’t to be with a strong and balanced Loggers lineup clawing their way back.
Sophomore Alexa Morehouse, who has led the way in the pitcher’s circle for Eureka this season, struggled against the Warriors and got little help from her defense early on.
Another sophomore pitcher, Salina Socha-Wright, took over in the fourth and turned in a strong performance, putting her recent struggles behind her.
Socha-Wright held the visitors to just one run over the final three innings on the way to the win.
“It was definitely a character day,” the head coach said. “It was a test of how well they could control their response to the mistakes they made.”
It was also the second straight one-run win for the Loggers, who have been difficult to put away.
“They’ve figured out a way to fight all the way through seven innings,” Graeser said of her players.
Karyn Jensen continued to impress at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with five RBIs, while Raime Young was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Sadie Wilkinson and Mckenna Beach each also had a hit and an RBI, while Briana Graham, Briana Day and Sadie Hampton each had a hit.
With the loss, the defending league champion Warriors drop to 0-4 in league play.
The two teams are scheduled to play a Big 5 doubleheader at Del Norte on Friday, weather permitting.
Ferndale 2, St. Bernard’s 12
Ally Del Grande continued to lead the way in the pitcher’s circle and Alyssa Liles and Calissa Stokesberry provided some timely hitting, as the Crusaders improved to 3-0 in the Little 4, moving one win ahead of defending champion Hoopa (2-0) in the standings.
Hoopa and St. Bernard’s are scheduled to play a crucial doubleheader in Eureka on Saturday.
Del Grande gave up just three hits, while striking out five, and never looked in danger of losing after her offense put up seven runs in the opening two innings.
Six different Crusaders combined for 12 hits, led by Stokesberry and Liles.
Stokesberry finished 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and three runs scored, while Liles was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run.
Freshman Emma Wilson continued to impress with two hits and a pair of runs, while sophomore Kara Waterman was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run.
McKenzie Finck and Del Grande each added a hit and an RBI.
“We played pretty darn good,” St. Bernard’s head coach Alan Borges said. “We hit the ball well and we played some pretty good defense. There’s always room for improvement, but we played well.”
A young St. Bernard’s team has shown steady improvement this season, while senior leader Del Grande seems determined to go out with a bang.
“Ally was solid today,” Borges said. “She was really hitting her spots. I was pretty much able to call any pitch I wanted.”
The Wildcats, who scored both their runs in the fourth inning, had three hits, one each from Bryleigh Busick, Brianna Rimmey and Bekah Towles, with Busick and Rimmey each scoring a run.
Ferndale pitcher Alyssa Watkins struck out three while allowing 12 hits in the loss.
The Crusaders are 4-5 overall.