By Ray Hamill — The Fortuna Huskies overcame a slow start on their way to victory in the opening round of the Charlie Lakin Tournament at the Arcata Ball Park on Wednesday.
After giving up seven runs in the first inning, the Huskies responded with 14 unanswered runs the rest of the game to win 14-7 and advance to Thursday’s semifinal against Arcata.
Cole Ayala remained red-hot at the plate and followed a five-hit performance in a doubleheader on Tuesday by going 3-for-3 against the Cats.
Matt Letter and Cody Collins each added a double, while teammates Chad Mussey, Troy Bugbee, Daniel Osborne and Kallen Barrote each also had a hit.
Rogan Gans relieved starter Cayden Danbrauskas in the first inning and settled his team down, although the sluggish start had as much to do with sloppy defense as anything.
“Rogan pitched well and kind of gave us what we needed,” Fortuna head coach Andy Olsen said.
Gans pitched 5.1 innings and didn’t allow any runs, while striking out two and walking one.
The Prior brothers, Parker and Paden, continued to impress for the Cats.
Paden finished 3-for-3 with an RBI, while Parker was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
“I give credit to Ferndale, especially the two Prior boys,” Olsen said. “They put the throttle on in the first and it took us a while to get out of it.”
Parker Prior also made some good plays at second base, while teammate Trent Titus finished 2-for-4 with a double a run and an RBI, Austin Michael was 1-for-4 with an RBI and Jonah Anderson had an RBI.
The Huskies improved to 13-10, while the Wildcats dropped to 8-10.
The Huskies will play the Tigers at 4 p.m .on Thursday, or in the case of a rainout it will be pushed back to Friday.
The Wildcats will now turn their attention to next week’s North Coast Section playoffs, where they are expected to get a high seed in Division VI.