Five H-DNL teams now ranked No. 1 in the NCS

Five different H-DNL teams are currently ranked No. 1 in their respective NCS divisions.

By Ray Hamill — It’s shaping up to be another record setting spring for the H-DNL in baseball and softball.

With the North Coast Section playoffs set to return for the first time in three years, the H-DNL currently has the No. 1 team in five of the 12 combined section divisions, according to the MaxPreps rankings.

That’s a remarkable showing for the league, and it doesn’t end there.

Two more teams are ranked No. 2 and 11 of the 18 H-DNL teams rank in the top six in their respective divisions.

The last time the NCS held postseason tournaments in the two sports, the H-DNL won a record four titles, including three of the six softball championships.

And there’s every reason to believe that run of success will continue this year.

Three of the league softball teams are ranked No. 1 in their division, including Eureka (Division III), McKinleyville (Division IV) and Hoopa (Division V).

They’re joined by a pair of H-DNL baseball teams — Arcata in Division IV and St. Bernard’s in Division VI.

The girls Division-IV field is particularly loaded with H-DNL teams near the top, with No. 2 Del Norte just one spot back of Mack and No. 4 Fortuna giving the league three of the top four.

That could make for a very interesting postseason for the local rivals.

The South Fork girls — who are the two-time defending Division VI champions and have moved up a division this season because of their recent success — are currently No. 5 in Division V, while Arcata (Division IV) and St. Bernard’s (Division V) are both ranked No. 8.

St. Bernard’s pitcher Nick Dugan

Just as impressive, more than half of the league’s softball teams are ranked in the top 30 out of 116 teams in the entire NCS.

Eureka is flying high at No. 5 overall, followed by No. 19 Mack, No. 22 Del Norte, No. 26 Hoopa and No. 30 Fortuna.

In baseball, Arcata is the highest ranked H-DNL team at No. 18 overall, followed by St. Bernard’s at No. 30.

The South Fork boys are also highly ranked within Division VI, just one spot behind No. 1 St. Bernard’s, while Fortuna is No. 5 in Division IV and Eureka is No. 6 in Division III.

The four H-DNL defending NCS champions are Hoopa, South Fork and McKinleyville in softball and Arcata in baseball.

2019 was the first time the league won four Section titles in the two sports in the same year.

Both the Big 5 and Little 4 are taking a break this week, but play will resume next week.

McKinleyville second baseman Camryn Pinard.

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