By Ray Hamill — Fresh off their first league title in nine years, the Eureka girls will be looking to make some history in the coming weeks, and they’re not the only ones.
Fresh off their third straight league title this spring, the Hoopa girls are also looking to make some history in the coming weeks, and both teams are hoping to do on more than one front.
The two schools will face off in the Charlie Lakin Tournament championship game at the Arcata Sports Complex on Saturday night, and it should be another exciting encounter between a pair of teams that are enjoying outstanding seasons.
The Loggers (23-1) will be appearing in their third straight Lakin championship game after winning the title in 2018 and losing to McKinleyville’s history-making treble winners in the 2019 championship game.
There were no Lakin tournaments in either 2020 or 2021.
The Warriors (19-4), meanwhile, are making their first tournament championship appearance and they become the second Little 4 team to get this far, following the St. Bernard’s girls, who lost the 2016 decider to Fortuna.
If the Hoopa girls win, they will become the first Little 4 team to win a Lakin championship in the brief eight-year history of the H-DNL postseason tourney.
If the Eureka girls win, it will be a first-ever Big 5 and Lakin double for the program.
And there’s more history on the line for these two teams in the coming weeks, with the North Coast Section playoffs set to begin on Tuesday.
The Loggers have never won an NCS championship in softball, but they appear well equipped to go far in the postseason this year.
Not only are they the No. 1 ranked team in the Division-III division, according to MaxPreps, but they are also No. 5 overall in the entire section.
A Lakin championship win on Saturday would set this Eureka team apart from all others in the program’s history in terms of success, but an NCS championship would do so by some distance.
The Warriors also are looking to make some NCS history this season.
Not only are the Hoopa girls the defending NCS Division-V champions, but they have a very strong NCS tradition in the sport, having won a section crown on six previous occasions, including at least one in four of the past five decades.
That’s remarkable consistency.
The Hoopa girls won the H-DNL’s first three NCS softball championships in the late 70s and early 80s, snd have also won titles in 2006, 2007 and three years ago, which was the last time the NCS held postseason tournaments.
As the No. 1 team in Division V, according to MaxPreps, the Warriors should be in line for the top seed in their bracket — especially after beating No. 3 Clear Lake recently — and there is a considerable home-field advantage for Hoopa, considering how far many of their potential opponents would have to travel.
If they go on to win another section title this season, it would give them one more all-time than Little 4 rivals Ferndale — both currently have six — and more than any other H-DNL team.
Saturday’s game is set for 5 p.m., and both teams will find out their NCS seed and opening-round opponents on Sunday.
(While this year’s Big 5 title was officially the Loggers’ first since 2013, they did go undefeated in 14 games last year, when no league title was handed out because of the pandemic-shortened season.)