By Ray Hamill — If the Hoopa Valley softball team played football, there’s a pretty good chance the Warriors would find themselves in the Big 5 next year.
And it probably wouldn’t phase them.
In fact, they’d probably compete just fine there.
After the Hoopa girls bowed out of the H-DNL tournament on Thursday night, barely falling 4-2 to Eureka, Loggers head coach Katelyn Graeser paid the Warriors the ultimate compliment.
“Hoopa’s an incredible team,” she said. “If they were in the Big 5, they would definitely be competing for the top three.”
The stats would appear to back that up for a Hoopa team that defended its Little 4 title this spring and one that appears to be peaking at an opportune time, coming into Thursday’s showdown having won 10 of the previous 12 games.
Included in that run was a pair of victories over Del Norte and Fortuna, two Big 5 teams.
And Thursday’s matchup was the second straight year the Division-V Warriors played the Division-III Loggers close in the H-DNL tournament.
What has been perhaps most impressive about the Hoopa girls this season, is how they have come together and how they are playing with a swagger not necessarily associated with Hoopa softball.
They’re also playing with confidence, and, in Graeser’s estimation, possess an incredible team culture.
The Warriors will now turn their attention toward next week’s North Coast Section playoffs where they are expected to make some noise in Division V.
The Hoopa girls are ranked No. 3 in their bracket, behind only No. 1 St. Vincent de Paul and No. 2 Clear Lake.
That, of course, doesn’t guarantee much ahead of Saturday’s seedings meeting, but there’s no doubt the Warriors deserve a high seed and a home game or two for next week’s tournament.
Here’s hoping the NCS recognizes that.