Tigers win NCS as memorable season for H-DNL comes to an end 

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Ray Hamill/ – The Tigers celebrate their NCS win at the Arcata Ball Park on Wednesday night.

By Ray Hamill — The Arcata Tigers had the final say in a memorable season for local prep baseball and softball, knocking off arch rivals McKinleyville 3-0 in the North Coast Section Division-IV baseball championship game on Wednesday night.

Merek Sears pitched a four-hit shutout for the win, and the Arcata bats turned in a disciplined performance, taking full advantage of some early Mack miscues to open up a three-run lead in the second inning.

And that was all Sears and his defense would need.

“I’m just proud of both Northern Humboldt teams,” Arcata head coach Troy Ghisetti said after the all-Big 5 section decider. “McKinleyville had a great season. They’re Big 5 champions and they’re warriors all around.”

The Panthers were seeded No. 1 and had beaten the No. 2 Tigers three times in four previous matchups this season.

The NCS win is just the second for the Tigers all-time, and a second for seniors Jaden Gorge and Brian Ford, each of whom also played as freshmen on the 2016 section winning team.

It’s also the H-DNL’s fourth section title in five days in baseball and softball combined, doubling the league previous best mark for a single season.

The Panthers close out the season with a record of 22-4, the fewest losses in a single season by any Big 5 team in the past 15 years.

Arcata’s record of 23-6 is identical to 2016.

“It must be my magic number,” said Ghisetti.

More to follow …

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