H-DNL makes NCS history, and they’re not done yet

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Photos by Ray Hamill/ – McKinleyville’s McKenna Turner and her teammates will play for an NCS Division-IV championship on Tuesday.

By Ray Hamill — This spring will go down as the most successful ever for the H-DNL in North Coast Section baseball and softball.

That’s now guaranteed, and the only question is just how historic 2019 will yet prove to be.

On Saturday, the H-DNL won a pair of section titles, something the league has done on 12 previous occasions in the two sports combined.

But this was the first time the league has won two softball championships in the one season, and gives the most isolated conference in the entire North Coast Section a sweep of the small school championships this year.

And it’s going to get better.


McKinleyville pitcher Cameron Saso will likely get the start in Wednesday’s NCS decider against Arcata.

Never has the H-DNL claimed three section championships in baseball and softball in the same year, and that’s now guaranteed with an all-Big 5 Division-IV baseball championship game between McKinleyville and Arcata on Wednesday.

Remarkably, six local teams — that’s one-third of the H-DNL — qualified for an NCS championship game in the two sports this season, which I’m pretty sure is also a first.

In addition to Hoopa and South Fork’s big championship wins on Saturday, the McKinleyville girls will also play for an NCS crown in Division-IV softball on Tuesday.

And if the Panthers win, it would give the H-DNL three of the six section softball championships this season.

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Panthers senior Jada Bailey reacts during Friday’s NCS semifinal against Cardinal Newman.

That would give a league that makes up just five percent of the entire NCS an incredible 50 percent of the titles.

That’s a statistic that shows the impressive growth of the game locally, and something Humboldt Fastpitch Softball has no doubt contributed to.

A win for the Mack girls would also guarantee the H-DNL an incredible four section titles in baseball and softball combined in one season, which would double the previous best mark.

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