By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers and Del Norte Warriors both opened the Big 5 with a victory on Wednesday, while the Arcata Tigers rolled to a comfortable non-league win.
The Loggers broke open a tight game with five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on the way to a 5-1 win over McKinleyville in Eureka.
Kira Morris continued to impress in the pitcher’s circle and pitched all seven innings for the win.
The junior allowed three hits and one walk and struck out 11 for her seventh victory of the season, as the Eureka girls improved to 1-0 in the Big 5 and 8-0 overall.
“It was good,” Eureka head coach Robin Johnson said of her team’s performance. “We just need to keep chipping away and get more runs throughout the game instead of all in one inning.”
The Panthers broke the deadlock in the top of the fourth inning, but the home team answered immediately when Morris stole home for the tying run in the bottom half of the inning.
The Eureka girls were able to build on that momentum and quickly took control of the game.
Morris finished 2-for-3 at the plate, while teammate McKenna Beach was 1-for-2 with two stolen bases and a walk.
Kaitlin Giacone and Maeghan Hampton each also had a base hit in the win, while Claire Maples made some big defensive plays at third base.
Camryn Pinard had a triple for the Panthers and scored her team’s only run, while teammates Trinity Preston and Rebecca Barnett each also had a base hit, with Preston driving in the run.
Raina Ausburn also had a strong outing in the pitcher’s circle, allowing five hits in six innings, while walking five and striking out eight.
The Panthers dropped to 0-1 in the Big 5 and 5-2 overall.
Del Norte 16, Fortuna 7
Lexi Heuberger hit a two-run home run on the ninth pitch of the game and the Warriors never looked back on the way to a comfortable win at Fortuna in both teams’ league openers.
The Del Norte catcher finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and was one of several standouts in the win, as the visitors opened up an early 10-0 lead and racked up 17 hits for the game.
Reece White led the Del Norte offense and finished 4-for-5 with three stolen bases, while Josephine Heuberger was 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs.
McKenna Curtis got the win in the pitcher’s circle, throwing all seven innings and allowing six hits and two walks, while also striking out five.
Ava O’Reilley also had a big day at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with a double and two runs, while Carlee Harper was 2-for-2 with three walks.
Freshman Myra Hayes continued to impress for the Huskies, who settled into the game after the shaky start but were unable to pull their way back.
Hayes finished 2-for-3 and scored a pair of runs, while Catherine Duncan also had a good day and was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a pair of runs.
Libby Johnston also was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run, while Kelsi Hall was 1-for-3.
With the win, the Warriors improved to 1-0 in the Big 5 and 8-3 overall, while the Huskies are now 0-1 and 9-2.
Arcata 14, South Fork 3, 5 innings
The Tigers set themselves up for next week’s league opener with a comfortable non-league win over the Cubs on Wednesday.
Morgan Ford was instrumental in the victory, both in the pitcher’s circle and at the plate.
The junior standout pitched all five innings, allowing five hits and striking out six, while also reaching base all four times she went to bat and scoring three runs.
Sagen Sarchett also had a big game and hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning as the Tigers began to pull away.
Sarchett finished with four RBIs and was walked twice.
Brooklyn Pippa and Taylor Appy each also had two hits, as the Tigers battled back from an early deficit and improved to 3-2.
“The bottom of our lineup really contributed too,” Arcata head coach Steve Sarchett said. “Everyone had a hit in today’s victory.
“The team is really coming together and I’m happy with their progress.”
The Tigers open the Big 5 at home to Fortuna next Wednesday.
No stats were available for South Fork.