New coaches having an immediate impact in Big 5 baseball

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – New Eureka head coach Shannon Rodgers talks things over with a couple of his players earlier this season.

By Ray Hamill — The Big 5 is doing something right.

Despite the poor weather this spring and the difficulties most teams have faced in regard to their schedules and outdoor practice, all five league teams have been quietly building momentum and putting together some impressive results.

Four of the five schools come into this weekend with winning campaigns and they boast a healthy combined record of 38-17-1.

Arcata is a very impressive 13-3, including a 10-1 mark against non-Big 5 teams, while the surging Fortuna Huskies have won six straight games and are now 7-4-1.

Eureka also has impressed and is 9-4, including an unbeaten 7-0 record against non-Big 5 teams, while a young McKinleyville team is 9-6 and has been competitive in most of its games.

Only the Del Norte Warriors (7-8-1) currently have a losing record and they could very well be above .500 before the weekend is out with a scheduled doubleheader against Mack in Crescent City on Saturday.

Interestingly, four of the five teams have new head coaches this spring, and all four of them — Fortuna’s Max Betts, Eureka’s Shannon Rodgers, McKinleyville’s Mike Dobrec and Del Norte’s Brandon Coborn — have hit the ground running and are enjoying some instant success.

Just what all of this will mean when the playoffs roll around remains to be seen, but four of the Big 5 schools are currently ranked in the top six within their North Coast Section brackets, according to MaxPreps, so they should be competitive.


The Tigers, who are perennial playoff contenders under longtime head coach Troy Ghisetti, are ranked No. 2 in Division 4, one spot ahead of Fortuna, whom they host in a key doubleheader on Saturday.

McKinleyville is No. 6 in the same bracket, with Del Norte at No. 9, meaning all four of the H-DN’s Division-4 teams are ranked in the top half of the 21-team division.

The Eureka Loggers, meanwhile, are the only Division-3 team in the H-DN and are ranked No. 6 out of 25 teams.

The Loggers, who have a bye in league play this week, will play a non-league doubleheader at Windsor on Saturday.

Both of Saturday’s Big 5 doubleheaders are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

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