The Fortuna Huskies showed they can compete with the best teams in the Big 5 and North Coast Section with an impressive come-from-behind win over Arcata on Saturday, as the two league rivals split a Big 5 baseball doubleheader.
After losing to Arcata in the series opener on Wednesday, the Huskies pulled out a thrilling victory in game one on Saturday, rallying from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning and winning 8-7 on a walk-off walk with the bases loaded.
The Tigers, however, responded in style with a comprehensive 13-1 win in game two to take the series.
“I liked their resiliency,” Fortuna head coach Andy Olsen said of his players. “Being down twice and coming back, that was great to see. The kids fought back against the No. 1 team in the section.”
Arcata is currently ranked No. 1 in the NCS in Division-IV, with Fortuna No. 4.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Andy and his team,” Arcata head coachTroy Ghisetti said. “They’re swinging the bat.”
With the Huskies trailing 7-4, Daniel Osborne led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple, before teammate Cole Ayala hit a two-run home run to pull his team within one.
Cody Collins and Cody Sauers each then singled, before Troy Bugbee was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game.
Matt Letter was then walked with the bases loaded to plate the winning run.
And the Huskies were clutch, with six of their eight runs in the game coming with two outs.
Ayala got the start on the mound and pitched six good innings for a no decision, with Osborne throwing one inning in relief for the win.
Ayala also had a double in addition to his home run, while Collins, Sauers and Bugbee each had two hits, and Tyler Schlesiger, Rylan Lommori and Letter each had one.
Miles Oliver had a huge day at the plate for the visitors and was 4-for-4 with two runs in game one, while teammate Alex Gorge and Nick Parker each finished 2-for-5, including a double by Gorge.
Freshman Wilson Medina had a game to remember and finished 1-for-4 with his first high school home run.
Finn McRae, Chet Keasey, Vincent Agliolo, Isaiah Levy and Noah Waterhouse each also had a hit.
McRae pitched six strong innings for a no decision, with Parker getting the loss in relief.
“It was a tough way to lose, but we had the right pitcher on the mound, it just didn’t work out,” Ghisetti said. “But I was really proud of my team the way they came back in game two.”
Parker responded in style in game two, pitching five strong innings for the win and allowing just five hits and no walks and striking out six.
The Tigers’ offense also responded well, with Agliolo and McRae each finishing 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Parker added two hits, including a triple, as did Oliver, who was 6-for-8 combined over the two games.
Waterhouse and Levy each also had two hits, including a double by the latter, while Gorge rounded out a 15-hit team performance.
“Game two just didn’t go our way,” Olsen said. “Arcata’s loaded. The whole lineup.”
Letter pitched 3.2 innings for the loss, with Collins closing out in relief.
Schlesiger was 2-for-2 with a double, while Letter also doubled and Bugbee and Lommori each added a hit.
With the split, Arcata is now 2-1 in the Big 5 and 10-2 overall, while Fortuna is 4-2 and 11-4.
Fortuna has next week off, while Arcata will play at the Shasta tournament, which begins on Tuesday, along with McKinleyville.