By Ray Hamill — The Warriors are determined to have fun on the softball field this spring.
So far so good.
On Wednesday afternoon, a young Del Norte team came from behind on three separate occasions on the way to a 7-6 walk-off win against Fortuna in their season opener.
And it was three freshmen that helped seal the victory in the bottom of the seventh.
Trailing 6-5, Del Norte’s KoyPoh McQuillen led off the inning with a walk, before scoring the tying run on fellow freshman Ava O’Reilley’s double.
Moments later another freshman, Reece White, drove in O’Reilley for the dramatic win.
“They just love the game,” head coach Jackie Heuberger said of her team. “And they want to learn, they’re super intense and they’re working hard.
“We were down three times, and they kept their morale up.”
Heuberger and her players have been looking forward to this shortened spring season.
“We have such good chemistry, and this team is going to have so much fun over the next five weeks,” the coach said.
There were two other freshmen in the starting lineup, pitcher McKenna Curtis, who got the win in the circle, and first baseman Alexis Heuberger.
With so many young players on hand, the coach will rely heavily on the experience and leadership of lone senior Madison Haag, who plays third base and will play at College of the Siskiyous after graduation.
Junior catcher Molly Slayton is also expected to lead the way from behind the plate, as is junior shortstop Josephine Heuberger.
O’Reilly will play second base, with White in center field and McQuillen in right.
And rounding out the starting nine is sophomore left fielder Hailee Harrison.
The head coach expects the Eureka Loggers to be the team to beat in the Big 5 this spring, adding, however, that she feels her players “can compete with all the other teams even though we’re young.”
Tegan Diaz is another young player the coach expects big things out of, despite the fact she only began playing softball last year.
“She’s a great athlete. It’s going to be fun to work with her,” the coach said. “We have great versatility on the bench as well.”
Jordyn Sanchez, Karisma Franz, Isabel Schrader and Sophia Jager round out the 14-player roster.
The Warriors play a doubleheader at Fortuna on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.