By Ray Hamill — One year after winning an historic seventh North Coast Section championship, the Hoopa Warriors are back on the softball field eager for more success.
And with a core group of returning starters, there’s every reason to believe they will challenge for another Little 4 championship this spring, at the very least.
The biggest challenge for the Hoopa girls and head coach Ryan Colegrove will be filling the shoes of pitcher Savannah Colegrove, who played such a pivotal role in last year’s memorable run to the section title.
But her younger sister Tatianna Colegrove looks well capable of picking up just where Savannah left off.
“I expect big things out of Tatianna this year,” the head coach said of the talented senior. “She’s kind of filling her sister’s shoes in the circle. But she’s been working hard and putting in the work.”
The Warriors opened the new season at Fortuna on Friday, losing 2-0 to the Huskies, although they were missing some key players for various reasons, all of whom are expected back in the lineup soon.
Tatianna made an immediate impact against the Big 5 bats and struck out 10, while walking one and allowing only two hits.
Nae-rew Martin, another key returner, led the way at the plate and finished 2-for-3 in her season debut, while Diamond Bibancos and Rikki Lipscomb each also had a base hit.
With Tatianna taking on a bigger role in the circle, Martin will switch from second base and play a lot of shortstop this season, where she is expected to play a pivotal role on defense with her reliable glove.
Sisters Diamond and Jewely Bibancos are both also back from last year’s section championship team and will give the Warriors a couple of big bats in the heart of the lineup.
Nalani Colegrove also is back and will move from the outfield to third base, where she is quickly adapting to her new role.
“She’s played the infield before,” Ryan Colegrove said. “She knows how to read the ball and can figure things out quickly.”
The speedy Bella Valentine is also back and will play in the outfield, along with fellow returners Rianna Bains and Renee Doolittle.
After winning the last two Division-5 Section championships, the Warriors have been moved up to Division 4 this season.
Hoopa’s seven NCS softball titles is the most ever by an H-DN program.
Categories: Hoopa Valley, Softball
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