By Ray Hamill — It’s been an exciting spring on the local high school baseball and softball fields, with all four local conferences set to go down to the final day of action.
In the Big 5, Eureka and McKinleyville are the frontrunners in both sports, and the two schools will play a pair of title-deciding series this coming week.
In baseball, the two teams have identical 8-1 records after the Loggers took two of three from Arcata over the past three days, ensuring there will not be a co-championship in the Big 5 this year.
Whoever takes the series will be crowned champions.
The Panthers do, however, have a slight advantage in softball with an unbeaten league record of 9-0, while the Loggers are 8-1, with their one loss coming against Arcata last weekend.
That means the Mack girls need just one win to secure at least a share of the title, although you can be certain that’s not the way they’ll be thinking going into the big series, with an outright title within their grasp.
Eureka will need a sweep to secure the title outright, but can clinch a share with two wins.
Both series get under way at Mack High on Wednesday at 4 p.m., with doubleheaders scheduled at Eureka High on Saturday.
Big week for the Little 4
Not to be out-done, the Little 4 has been equally exciting, with St. Bernard’s and Hoopa battling neck and neck in softball.
The Crusaders swept the Warriors at home a few weeks back to take the early advantage in the title race, but since then the Warriors have won eight straight games (going into Saturday night’s showdown with Arcata at the Coach Cheek Invitational).
The Hoopa girls have been building steam and are playing far better than they were the last time the two teams met, setting up an exciting title-deciding doubleheader in Hoopa on Thursday.
The Crusaders are 8-1 in the Little 4 and do hold a half-game lead over the Warriors (8-2), with St. Bernard’s still to play Ferndale in a make-up game, which will probably take place next weekend.
Either way, Thursday’s doubleheader will be pivotal in determining the destination of this year’s title.
In baseball, the picture is a little clearer, although the championship will still go down to the final day of action.
St. Bernard’s and South Fork are tied at 7-3 in league play, with two games left each.
But the Crusaders play at Hoopa, which is winless on the season, and they will go in as heavy favorites to sweep, while South Fork faces a tricky doubleheader at home to a good Ferndale team that mathematically is still alive for a share of the title.
If St. Bernard’s sweeps, as expected, then the Crusaders are guaranteed at least a share of the title, and will claim it outright if South Fork can’t do the same.
In all four conferences, it doesn’t get much closer than this, and that should make for an exciting week of action.