By Ray Hamill — The Hoopa Valley girls have been turning heads locally in softball for the past two years, winning back-to-back Little 4 titles and earning the respect of the rest of the H-DNL.
What they might not have known is that apparently they’ve been turning heads beyond the Redwood Curtain as well.
This past weekend, they were handed the No. 2 seed for the Division-V North Coast Section playoffs, an unexpected honor for a program that has become accustomed to being overlooked when it comes to the NCS postseason.
“It kind of took me by surprise,” said Hoopa head coach Glenn Moore. “But they worked hard for that. Like I told them, it’s not often you get a two seed for a small school in Humboldt County, you definitely turned some heads.”
The Warriors have done that and more.
They started slowly but began to build momentum as the season went on, winning 10 of their final 13 games on the way to clinching a second consecutive league title and pushing Division-III Eureka all the way in the H-DNL tournament.
And the team’s success has the Hoopa community excited and looking forward to this week’s NCS playoff game at home to No. 7 University on Friday at 5 p.m., which has been moved forward from Saturday because of the weather.
Both teams had a first-round bye and the Warriors used the extra time to work on some things.
“We kind of needed to be able to do some things after the Eureka loss,” Moore said. “So the bye kind of helped us out.”
The higher-than-expected seed also means the Warriors will host a second game if they can win Friday’s quarterfinal, and perhaps even a championship game if they get that far and the top seed St. Vincent de Paul loses along the way.
For now, however, the Warriors’ only concern is University.
The San Francisco school comes into the showdown with an impressive record of 13-8, including a perfect 9-0 run through the Bay Counties – West league.
Hoopa is 13-8.