The Eureka Loggers will get the opportunity to play for a first-ever North Coast Section championship in softball on Saturday after defeating Maria Carrillo in Tuesday’s Division-3 semifinal.
The Loggers broke open a tight game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 5-0 win.
“It was another good team win,” said Eureka head coach Robin Johnson, who got the better of her former high school. “We had good team defense, (pitcher) Kira (Morris) was on today, and we got some good hits.”
Morris has been outstanding in the circle all spring and is showing no signs of slowing down, improving to 23-0 on the season with the win.
She continues to get plenty of support from a Eureka team that has now won 17 straight games, and a team that has allowed one or fewer runs in 13 of those wins.
And Johnson believes the Loggers are playing their best ball of the season right now.
“We had another really good game today,” she said. “They’re all working together and everybody’s clicking.”
Morris gave up just one hit in the shoutout victory, while walking four and striking out 11.
Six different Eureka players accounted for eight hits, including McKenna Beach, who continues to lead the way at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Claire Maples also was 2-for-3 and has been instrumental in the playoff run. Since returning to the lineup after an injury-plagued league campaign, the junior has finished with a pair of hits in both NCS games.
Sophomore Kaitlin Giacone also is enjoying an outstanding postseason, and she followed Saturday’s late-game heroics with another clutch performance on Tuesday.
Giacone had a two-RBI bunt single on a squeeze play in the bottom of the sixth to help Eureka take control of the game.
Mariah Napoleon and Mallorie Beauchamp each also finished 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Morris was 1-for-2.
“(Maria Carrillo) battled well against us and played well,” Johnson said. “It was a close game.”
The No. 1 seed Loggers will now turn their attention to Saturday’s championship game, which will be played at 1 p.m. at Washington Elementary against either No. 2 Pinole Valley or No. 3 San Rafael, who face off in the second semifinal on Wednesday night.
“We’re going to take it pitch by pitch and inning by inning,” Johnson said, adding that her players are excited for the opportunity to compete for a first-ever section softball crown for the school. “They’re so excited. They’re super stoked.”
With the win, Eureka improved to 26-1.