NCS PLAYOFFS ROUNDUP — A good day for the Little 4 and Fortuna

Submitted photo – Justin Freitas in action for the Cubs on Wednesday.

Wednesday was a good day for the Little 4 in the North Coast Section baseball playoffs, with three of the league teams advancing to the Division-6 semifinals.

No. 1 seed St. Bernard’s ran out to a comprehensive 12-0 win over Tomales in five innings at Crusader Field, while No. 4 South Fork got the better of San Domenico 9-4 and No. 3 Ferndale won on the road, defeating Point Arena 11-10 in nine innings.

St. Bernard’s will now host South Fork in an all-Little 4 semifinal at Crusader Field on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Ferndale, meanwhile, will have to travel to play No. 2 seed Credo on Saturday night (7 p.m.), after the Gryphons got the better of San Francisco Waldorf 17-1 in their quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Two other H-DNL teams were in action on Wednesday night, both in Division 4.

McKinleyville gave up a late lead on the way to falling 9-5 at St. Joseph Notre Dame, while Fortuna won on the road at St. Helena, 12-5.

Photo by Phoebe Becker – Justin Freitas hits a home run during Wednesday’s game.

South Fork 9, San Domenico 4

Justin Freitas is turning into a strong option for the Cubs on the mound.

More importantly, he’s showing some mental toughness.

Freitas got off to a shaky start against the Panthers and gave up two early runs, but he quickly settled down and showed no ill-effects from the early struggles the rest of the way.

“I’m very impressed with how he’s been pitching the last few weeks,” head coach Chris Contreras said of the sophomore, who didn’t start on the mound until late in the season. “He’s definitely got a bright future.”

Freitas also had the hot bat and finished 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to put the Cubs up 7-4.

He struck out five in a complete game and gave up six hits.

He wasn’t the only bright spot for the Cubs.

Senior Tanner Curran also had a good game defensively and made some big plays at shortstop, as did sophomore centerfielder Bronc Contreras.

The South Fork head coach also expressed his appreciation to Southern Humboldt Little League and association president Kristy Murphy for paying for any little leaguer to come and see the game.

“It was great to see the kids in their uniforms watching form the front row,” Chris Contreras said.

Ferndale 11, Point Arena 10 (9 innings)

Mattias Alejandre “willed” his team to victory on Wednesday, as the Wildcats advanced to the Division-6 semifinals with a walk-off win over the Pirates in nine innings.

The No. 3 Wildcats had to play on the road at No. 6 Point Arena because the Pirates are league champions, but the Ferndale boys were the home team for the game because they were the higher seed.

And that resulted in a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth when Levi Dixon scored from third on a wild pitch to clinch the playoff win.

It was Alejandre, however, who was instrumental in the victory with an outstanding pitching performance.

After the Cats gave up two early leads, Alejandre took over on the mound in the fifth and threw the remainder of the game.

“He willed us to a win,” head coach Justin Andersen said. “Mattias did not want to lose.”

Alejandre did not allow any earned runs and had no innings with double digits in pitches.

Final stats were not immediately available.

Check out Humboldt Sports on Thursday afternoon for more on this game.

Fortuna 12, St. Helena 5

The No. 11 Huskies knocked off the No. 5 seeds on the road to advance to the Division-4 quarterfinals on Saturday.

Cole Ayala led a strong pitching performance as Fortuna opened up an early 7-1 lead and held on down the stretch.

Ayala pitched 4.2 innings, but tired in the 97-degree heat as the home team clawed their way back to within two runs of tying the game.

Matt Letter then came in and got a three-pitch strikeout to end the rally, before Drew Franklin closed out the game with two hitless and scoreless innings, while striking out three.

The pitchers got plenty of offensive support.

“We hit the ball well and we limited strikeouts,” head coach Andy Olsen said. “And we got some clutch two-out hits.”

Including one from Ayala, who cleared the bases with a big two-out three-run double in the fourth inning.

Ayala, who has been on fire at the plate down the stretch of the season, finished 3-for-4 with the double and a home run.

Teammate Cole Victorine also had a big day and finished 4-for-4 with a double, while Troy Bugbee was 1-for-3 with a triple and Cody Sauers was 1-for-4 with a double.

Cody Collins also had a base hit.

The Huskies will now play a quarterfinal at No. 3 St. Mary’s on Saturday at 1 p.m., after the Panthers defeated Fort Bragg 7-0 on Wednesday.

St. Joseph Notre Dame 9, McKinleyville 5

The Panthers bowed out of the playoffs on Wednesday night after seeing a late lead disappear in a game played at College of Alameda.

McKinleyville broke a 3-3 deadlock with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, but the Pilots would answer with six runs in the bottom half of the inning and held on for the victory.

Kolby Stolpe had the hot bat for the Panthers and finished 2-for-3 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run, while Logan Maher was 1-for-2 with two runs.

Bryce Sargent and Jack Saso each also had a hit in the loss.

Riley Bates pitched four solid innings for a no-decision, allowing one earned run on five hits and one walk, while striking out six.

Branson Dobrec pitched two innings in relief and took the loss.

Five Mack errors didn’t help matters.

Leave a Reply