The Warriors are a family on the softball diamond.
It’s something they preach constantly and something they believe in.
They’re also now history makers, and they are so in large part because of that family-first mentality.
“‘One-two-three, Lady Warriors, four-five-six, family!’ It’s something we say before every game,” Hoopa head coach Glenn Moore said after Saturday’s history-making 4-3 NCS win at St. Vincent de Paul. “It means we’re Lady Warriors and we’re family, and that’s how we won the section.”
Judging by this performance, it’s difficult to argue with that belief, and the Warriors have been playing as a cohesive unit for much of the season, building momentum with each passing week.
They closed out on a run that saw them win 13 of their final 16 games, with their only losses in that time coming against Big 5 opposition.
And on Saturday, they capped that with a dramatic Division-V NCS championship, achieved with another stellar team performance.
“It was a full team effort,” Moore said. “All of the girls stood out today and every one of them was a key factor.”
It was also a thrilling game, and a fitting end to what has been a thrilling ride this season, a campaign that saw the Warriors claim a second straight Little 4 championship and a first NCS crown since 2007.
It’s the program’s sixth ever in softball, tying them with Ferndale for most by one school in the H-DNL.
Having spent much of the past decade looking up at St. Bernard’s and Ferndale when it comes to the Little 4, the Hoopa girls are now leading the way and not likely to go away any time soon.
Especially with freshman pitcher Savannah Colegrove in the circle.
The newcomer has been sensational for the Warriors for much of the season, growing in stature with each passing game, and turning in another star performance against the No. 1 seeds on Saturday.
The freshman held the St. Vincent de Paul bats to just four hits and one walk in the complete-game win, while also leading the way at the plate with a pair of hits and two RBIs.
Colegrove gave her team the lead on a two-run single in the top of the third inning.
In what was an exciting back-and-forth game, however, the home team struck back immediately, taking a one-run lead in the bottom half of the inning on a three-run home run.
It was the only setback for the Warriors all day, and they responded in a manner befitting of champions, tying the game in the sixth on a play involving a pair of seniors, when Daisy Tracy drove home Alexia Jackson on a sacrifice.
They then took the lead in the top of the seventh when Jasmine Kinney scored the winning run on a Beyonce Bussell sacrifice.
And that was all Colegrove and her dynamic defense would need, with three quick outs in the bottom half of the inning sealing the championship.
“We really minimized our errors, and our outfield played outstanding. Nothing dropped,” Moore said. “We played lights out defensively.”
No one more so than Jackson, who has been leading the way at shortstop all season and turned a pair of double plays on Saturday.
It wasn’t all the Warriors did well, and they matched that stellar defense with some smart and efficient offense.
“We executed the small ball well, and we got some timely hits, some nice sac bunts and sac flies,” the head coach said. “(Our players) came in ready to play. There was no nervousness, they were focused.
“They played with heart today. They never backed down. They never got scared.”