Prep Softball — Big 5 teams pull away in the opening round

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Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Arcata senior shortstop Maria Morehouse talks to her teammates during Tuesday’s game.

The two Little 4 teams kept things close early against their Big 5 opponents in the opening round of the Charles Lakin H-DNL Tournament at the Arcata Sports Complex on Tuesday, before the larger schools pulled away for comfortable wins.

Arcata and St. Bernard’s got the tournament under way, with the Tigers scoring 10 late runs in a 12-1 win, before Eureka overwhelmed South Fork 21-5.

“It took us one time through the order to really make the adjustments we needed, but once we did, we played well,” Eureka co-head coach Katelyn Graeser said. 

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Arcata pitcher Makayla Bernald

Arcata 12, St. Bernard’s 1

The Tigers set up rematch with arch rivals McKinleyville in Thursday’s semifinal after a comfortable win over the Crusaders.

Makayla Bernald kept the St. Bernard’s bats in check with another strong performance in the circle, striking out 12 in the complete-game win.

Defensively for Arcata, senior shortstop Maria Morehouse continued to set the tone.

“Defensively Maria Morehouse was solid as a senior and holding the defense together on the field,” Arcata head coach Teresa Stavert said.

Bella Volz-Broughton and Mekaynea Solia each finished 2-for-4 in the win, with Solia hitting a big two-out, two-RBI double to break the game open in the sixth.

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With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-8.

A win over the highly-rated Panthers on Thursday would also go a long way toward impressing the North Coast Section committee ahead of the NCS playoffs.

For St. Bernard’s, which dropped to 10-9, Ally Del Grande took the loss in the circle, striking out seven and allowing 10 hits.

Del Grande, Emma Wilson, Calissa Stokesberry and Alyssa Liles each had a hit for St. Bernard’s.

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Eureka 21, South Fork 5

The Loggers overcame an early deficit to gradually pull away for the five-inning win and set up a tournament showdown against Hoopa for the second straight year.

Salina Socha-Wright played a big role in the win, pitching the win and finishing 2-for-3 at the plate with five RBIs.

The win was expected for the Loggers, who improved to 18-5, and one that was achieved with a balanced performance.

“It was definitely a team effort,” Graeser said. “It was good some younger girls got some playing time and got some playoff experience.”

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The South Fork girls, who dropped to 14-9, will now turn their attention to next week’s NCS playoffs.

The Cubs are the defending Division-VI champions and ranked No. 1 in their bracket, according to MaxPreps.

The seedings will be announced this weekend.

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