Hoopa Valley

Hoopa bats make early statement as Warriors start 3-0

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Hoopa shortstop Nalani Colegrove in action at Arcata on Tuesday.

By Ray Hamill — The Hoopa bats have come to play this spring, and that, coupled with the talents of junior pitcher Savannah Colegrove, makes them a dangerous proposition over the next few weeks.

Colegrove, as expected, has looked impressive in the pitcher’s circle through the opening week of the high school softball season, but the bats have been a pleasant surprise.

Especially on such a young team, one that features five sophomores.

“I was really happy with our hitting,” head coach Ryan Colegrove said after her team posted three wins last week, including a season-opening 4-3 win at Arcata and a doubleheader sweep over South Fork. “You never know going in. We’re still kind of young, but even the young bats were really good (against South Fork).”

The Warriors topped the Cubs 11-2 and 18-7, with several players stepping up at the plate, and doing so against some solid South Fork pitching.

The Hoopa girls don’t have a big roster, with just 10 players on hand, but will likely continue to be a handful for any opponent as long as Savannah Colegrove is in the circle.

The junior standout broke onto the local high school scene as a freshman two years ago, when she was named Little 4 MVP pitcher and helped lead her team to a North Coast Section Division-V championship.

“The players are confident when she’s in the circle,” said Savannah’s head coach and mother, Ryan Colegrove. “She has a really strong mental game. Nothing really gets to her, and she’s always been kind of that way.”

The strong pitching is just one aspect that makes the Warriors a dangerous team right now, and quite probably the best team in the Little 4 this spring.

Hoopa catcher Jewely Bibancos in action at Arcata on Tuesday.

“They’re really kind of a universal team,” the head coach said of her players. “Most of them can play anywhere, they get along really well, and they work together really well.”

Seniors Beyonce Bussell and K-Lynn Dowd will provide some experience on an otherwise young team.

Bussell, in particular, has impressed in the early season with her play in center field.

“She understands the game well,” Ryan Colegrove said of the centerfielder. “And she reads the ball so well.”

In addition to the two seniors and the junior ace in the circle, the roster also includes junior Bethany Masten, freshman Bella Valentine, and a group of five talented sophomores, Tatianna Colegrove, Nalani Colegrove, Nae-rew Martin and twin sisters Jewely and Diamond Bibancos.

The sophomores are a tight-knit group that bring a somewhat professional attitude to practice, going about it with a businesslike approach.

“My sophomores have been playing together for a while,” Ryan Colegrove said. “They get along really well and they know each other very well.”

Several of them had big games against South Fork, including Nalani Colegrove, who was 4-for-4 in game one.

Also in game one, Tatianna Colegrove had three hits, including a triple, and Jewely Bibancos and Martin each had three hits.

In game two, Tatianna Colegrove finished 3-for-4 with a triple and a double, while Bussell added three hits and Jewely Bibancos two.

The Warriors are scheduled to play two games at home to Ferndale next Saturday, weather permitting.

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