By Ray Hamill — Big-time players always step up to the occasion, and that was the case this week with all three of our Humboldt Sports Athletes of the Week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.
St. Bernard’s senior Nick Dugan was outstanding once again in leading the Crusaders baseball team to a a pair of NorCal Division-3 playoffs wins, getting the victory on the mound in Tuesday’s quarterfinal against Foothill and in Thursday’s semifinal against Central.
Equally impressive, Eureka junior Kira Morris was outstanding in the circle and at the plate and hit three home runs in a 9-8 loss at Monterey in the NorCal Division-4 softball semifinals, just two days after leading the loggers to a shutout victory over Hoopa in the quarterfinals.
And rounding out a week of top-class performances, Hoopa senior Savannah Colegrove closed out her high school career with a big game at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle in Tuesday’s narrow 1-0 loss at Eureka.
And that makes all three of them our athletes of the week.
Our team of the week, meanwhile, goes to the St. Bernard’s baseball team for their historic week in becoming the first-ever H-DNL team to qualify for a CIF state playoff championship game.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
St. Bernard’s Baseball, Senior
Dugan has been sensational all season and he seems to relish the big occasions.
He got the win in Tuesday’s NorCal quarterfinal in relief and followed that two days later with a dominant performance in an 8-0 shutout win over Central High.
Dugan, who is 11-0 and also leads his team in batting average (.541), RBIs (40) and home runs (seven), will go down as one of the all-time greats in H-DNL baseball history, especially if he can cap an incredible career with a win in Monday’s NorCal Division-3 championship game.
For more on his big week, see Crusaders make history, advance to NorCal championship game …
Eureka Softball, Junior
Morris has been consistently brilliant all season long and did her best to keep her team’s season going in a 9-8 loss at Monterey on Thursday.
The junior multi-sport standout finished the season with a remarkable 24 wins and just two losses and has been the most dominant pitcher in the H-DNL since the days of Hailey Dolcini.
She hit three home runs and drove in seven runs in the loss, while allowing just five hits against a red-hot Monterey team that was seeded No. 2 in the Division-IV bracket.
For more on her big week, see Morris hits three home runs as Loggers push Monterey all the way …
Hoopa Softball, Senior
Colegrove capped a huge season with another stellar performance against Eureka, both in the circle and at the plate.
The Hoopa senior finished 3-for-3 and was stranded at third base in the top of the seventh after hitting a lead-off double in her final high school at-bat.
She gave up just four hits and one walk in the circle and struck out 12.
For more on her big week, see Seniors refuse to lose as Loggers edge the Warriors in NorCal opener …
TEAM OF THE WEEK
St. Bernard’s Baseball
It was quite a week for the Crusaders, who won a pair of games in very different circumstances to advance to Monday’s NorCal Division-3 championship.
After being moved up a full three divisions by the NorCal seeding committee and rated 20th out of 40 total playoff teams in the northern half of the state, the Crusaders had to battle to beat Foothill 5-4 in Tuesday’s quarterfinal.
It was a game they won with guts and determination, according to head coach Matt Tomlin.
Two days later they stunned Central, a school of more than 4,200 students, in an 8-0 shutout that was all but over after the first three innings.
Few local high school teams in any sport have impressed as much as this team this past school year.
For more on their big week, see Crusaders make history, advance to NorCal championship game …