The eureka girls took over sole possession of top spot in the Big 5 softball standings with a doubleheader sweep against Del Norte at Washington Elementary School on Saturday.
But they had to battle all the way, pulling out a close-fought 2-1 win in eight innings of game one on a walk-off after the Warriors had rallied to tie things up in the top of the sixth.
The Eureka girls would go on to take game two 4-1 and improved to 4-1 in the Big 5, while the Warriors dropped to 4-4.
“Del Norte’s a good team. We didn’t take them lightly,” Eureka head coach Robin Johnson said. “I’m proud of our team because we worked as a team. Our hitting wasn’t on today, but we got the win.”
Senior McKenna Beach, who will play at Cal Poly Humboldt next year, scored the winning run in game one.
The ever-dangerous Beach reached base on an error and quickly advanced all the way to third on the same play before being driven home moments later on a Kira Morris base hit for the walk-off win.
Morris, who also pitched both wins, was 3-for-4 in the extra-innings game, while Maeghan Hampton was 1-for-4.
Kaitlin Giacone also had a crucial play in the win, driving in Beach on a suicide squeeze to break a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the fourth.
Del Norte senior Josephine Heuberger was 2-for-4 in game one, while younger sister Alexis Heuberger was 1-for-4 and Reece White was 1-for-3.
Morris had 22 strikeouts in 15 innings over the two games.
The Warriors took their first lead of the day in the top of the first inning of game two, but the home team tied the game with a run in the second on a Zia Gee base hit and took control with three runs in the fifth.
Beach finished 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs in the win, while Hampton was 1-for-2 and Morris added an RBI on a fielder’s choice.
The consistent Josephine Heuberger added two hits in the loss, while teammate Ava O’Reilley added a hit, as did Hailee Harrison.
Talented sophomore McKenna Curtis pitched well in both games despite taking the losses and finished with an impressive 24 strikeouts on the day.
“They were great games for sure,” Del Norte head coach Jackie Heuberger said. “It’s nice to play against high quality players and great coaches. Even though we lost, the Del Norte players played with intensity and respected the game. No hanging heads even though we lost.”
Eureka is now 15-1 overall, while Del Norte is 11-7.
The two teams will complete their three-game league series at Del Norte on Tuesday.
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