With their backs to the wall and their league ambitions on the line, the McKinleyville Panthers battled back from a 7-1 loss in the opening game of a doubleheader at Eureka to take game two 8-6 and remain well in contention for a Big 5 title.
The loss was the first in league play for the Loggers, who still took the three-game series against McKinleyville to go to 5-1 in the Big 5.
In other games around the H-DN on a busy Saturday, the Del Norte Warriors improved to 3-0 in the Big 5 with a pair of victories at Fortuna, winning 9-0 and 11-6.
The Arcata girls, meanwhile, were in action at the Napa tournament, falling 7-2 to Antioch.
The big showdown of the day was at Washington Elementary, with the host Loggers comfortably taking game one, before the Panthers responded with a big performance in game two.
Kira Morris had yet another big day in the circle and at the plate for Eureka, hitting a three-run home run to key the offense in game one and pitching a four-hit complete game for the victory, while striking out 10.
Maeghan Hampton and Mariah Napoleon each also were instrumental in the win and both finished 2-for-4 with a double, with Napoleon also driving in three of her team’s seven runs.
Mallorie Beauchamp and Kylee Smith each also had a hit in the victory.
Sargent, who is enjoying an impressive freshman season, took the loss in the circle, allowing seven hits and a walk in six innings while striking out six.
The Loggers responded in game two, scoring four runs in the top of the first to quickly take control.
“We practiced a few things this week and they executed them well,” Mack head coach Shanna McCracken said. “They took risks on the bases, which helped us quite a bit. I was super proud of how the girls performed, on offense especially.”
Sargent got the win in the circle, allowing nine hits in seven innings, while Rebecca Barnett had a huge game at the plate to lead the offense.
Barnett, who was moved up from ninth to sixth in the lineup because several players were missing for various personal reasons, picked up the slack with a player-of-the-game performance and finished 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs.
“She just crushed it,” McCracken said. “She improved every single at-bat.”
Pinard, Sargent, Mashell Stumpf and Taylor Wade each was 1-for-4.
“They did a lot of things well,” McCracken said. “We had a lot of deep-count at-bats. I’m very happy with how they’re performing.”
With the split, the Panthers are now 4-2 in league and 9-3 overall.
Morris also continued to impact the game and was 1-for-1 with three walks, while Napoleon was 1-for-4.
Morris also pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits and striking out 10 batters, giving her 20 Ks on the day.
The Loggers are now 8-4 overall.
St. Bernard’s 12, Ferndale 2
St. Bernard’s 15, Ferndale 1
Several St. Bernard’s girls had big days at the plate as the Crusaders got their first two league wins and improved to 2-2 in the Little 3 and 6-10 overall.
Ella Jimenez got the win in the circle in the opener, while Allyson Hagler was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs and freshman Makinsey Lemley finished 3-for-4 with a double and a run.
“Ella pitched great, she kept them off balance,” SB assistant coach Brian Finck said.
Defensively, Marce Davila had a monster day at third base and was “an absolute vacuum,” according to her coaches, while making several plays for outs.
A young Ferndale team, meanwhile, continued to make some progress, with catcher Tinnley Pidgeon again impressing on both sides of the plate.
The freshman 1-for-3 with an RBI double, while teammate Danica Dowd was 1-for-2 and both Alayna Cooney and Isabelle Ellsmore each was 1-for-3.
The opener remained close until the sixth inning and the difference on the day was one or two big innings in each game for the visitors.
Dowd continues to throw strikes in the circle in her first season pitching at the high school level.
“We’re getting better,” said Ferndale head coach Jeremy Griffith, whose team only began the season earlier this week. “We’re doing a lot of things. We’re learning as we’re going.”
Pidgeon added two more hits in game two, as did teammate Lexi Blake, while Dowd, Cooney, Lillian Chase-Rocha and Yajaira Cantu each went 1-for-3.
St. Bernard’s Torrin Baty got the win in the circle with a strong performance while also finishing 3-for-4 with a run, while teammate Hannah Finck also was 3-for-4 with a big bases-clearing double and a run.
Freshman Emma Mowery also was 3-for-4 with three runs and Jimenez helped her fellow pitcher by going 3-for-5 with a triple and a run.