By Ray Hamill — While everyone is happy to be back playing again, one of the biggest drawbacks of the COVID shortened H-DNL softball season is that we won’t get to see a league tournament.
And this year, it could have been a great one, with little to separate the top teams in the league right now.
While most observers will say that the Eureka Loggers are the best team in the H-DNL this year, Hoopa fans my beg to differ.
And Mack fans have a case too.
In fairness to the Loggers, who have no noticeable weaknesses, they have already swept a pair of Big 5 rivals and have taken care of business at every step on the way to a perfect 9-0 record.
They close out the season with five more games, two against Fortuna on Saturday and three next week against Arcata.
It would not be a surprise to see them finish up 14-0.
But they’re not the only local team heading towards perfection.
The Hoopa Warriors have been every bit as impressive.
Not only have they completely dominated the rest of the Little 4, but they’ve also knocked off a pair of Big 5 opponents and are also perfect on the season at 8-0.
Like the Loggers, they have no noticeable weaknesses, with stellar pitching, consistent defense and a bunch of bats that can’t be contained.
Would they have beaten the Loggers in an H-DNL tournament?
Unfortunately we’ll never know, because the two teams won’t meet this spring.
McKinleyville is another team that would have fancied its chances in an H-DNL tournament this season.
It took a few games for a young Panthers team to get going, and they dropped three straight to Eureka in the opening week.
They did, however, give the Loggers their biggest scare of the season in the final game of that series, and they have been on a very impressive roll since then, with a young lineup maturing in leaps and bounds and winning eight straight games.
Whether or not they would have beaten the Loggers or Warriors in an H-DNL tournament is a moot point, but judging by the way they are now playing they would have fancied their chances.
Clearly those three teams are the top three in the H-DNL right now, and all three would have been fun to watch in the North Coast Section playoffs too.
The good news is that all three of them feature young rosters and should continue to be competitive for the next couple of years at least.