By Ray Hamill — Sophomore Alexa Morehouse got the better of her older sister and the rest of a potent Arcata offense on Tuesday afternoon, on the way to helping her team to an important win in Big 5 softball.
The Eureka pitcher was playing against older sister Maria Morehouse for the first time ever, with the younger sibling getting the better of exchanges in a 5-1 win.
“She won the battle of the sisters,” Eureka co-head coach Katelyn Graeser said of Alexa, who held the Tigers to just one hit through the opening five innings.
Alexa Morehouse, who transferred to Eureka this past year for academic and personal reasons, stepped up big in what was a pivotal game for the Loggers to keep pace with the league-leading McKinleyville Panthers.
“Alexa had her game face on today,” Graeser said. “She was dialed in and she looked focused.”
The younger Morehouse has grown into the role of No. 1 starter for the Loggers, who won their eighth straight game, and if she can continue to play like this then a Eureka team that has plenty of power at the plate will be tough to stop.
That power was on display again on Tuesday, as the Loggers added a pair of big insurance runs in the top of the seventh with solo home runs from Karyn Jensen and McKenna Beach after the home team had cut the deficit to two in the bottom of the sixth.
Graeser described her team’s performance as “mature.”
“We hit in key situations when we needed to,” she said.
The Loggers, who improved to 11-2 and have won 11 of their past 12 games, broke open a scoreless game with three runs in the top of the third, the latter coming on an RBI single by Makaila Napoleon.
The Tigers finally got their first hit of the day in the bottom of the fifth on a Mekaynea Solia lead-off single, but the Loggers kept the runner from scoring with a good defensive play by shortstop Sadie Hampton to end the inning.
The Tigers did break through into the scoring column in the bottom of the sixth on a Kori McCracken single that drove home Claire Broadman, who had reached second on an error and stole her way to third.
The Loggers, however, answered right back with the two late home runs.
Makayla Bernald and Lola Renteria rounded out a four-hit Arcata performance.
“We got beat in all three aspects of the game,” said Arcata head coach Teresa Stavert, whose team dropped to 5-5 in the Big 5 and 11-6 overall. “We got out-pitched, out-hit and they played better defense than us.”
For the Loggers, Jensen finished 2-for-4 with a double and the home run, while Beach was 1-for-3 with the home run.
Raime Young finished 2-for-4, and Hampton was 1-for-4.
The Loggers improved to 5-0 in the Big 5 and remain on course for a title-deciding series against McKinleyville (9-0 in the conference) in early May.
The Tigers and Loggers will close out a three-game series with two games at Eureka on Friday, with first pitch set for 2 p.m.
“It’s the best two of three and we’ve got Friday coming,” Stavert. “We now know what we have to do.”