By Ray Hamill — The showdown between the top two teams in the Big 5 lived up to the billing at Washington Elementary School on Wednesday.
With the league lead on the line, the Eureka Loggers and Del Norte Warriors served up an entertaining and well-played game for their fans.
But it was the host Loggers who walked away with a slender 1-0 victory behind a no-hitter from senior Kira Morris, a win that moves them into a tie with the Warriors atop the league standings.
Del Norte pitcher Shay Nolan was almost as impressive in the circle for the visitors and threw a one-hitter to keep her team in contention throughout.
But the Loggers made their only hit of the game count.
Morris led off the bottom of the second with a walk and was advanced on a Zia Gee sac bunt and a Mariah Napoleon single.
Senior Taliyah Cooper then drove in what would prove to be the winning run on a line drive to the pitcher.
And that was all Morris and her defense would need, with the senior pitcher stepping up in the biggest game of the season so far with her first no-hitter of the season.
Morris struck out nine in seven innings, with freshman second baseman Bailey Brown and Cooper at third both making key defensive plays late in the game.
The Warriors threatened in the top of the sixth when a base runner reaching second after a wild throw to first on what should have been a routine groundout for the final out of the inning.
But Brown ended the threat moments later with a big catch on a hard hit ball that likely would have tied the game had it gotten past her.
“Everyone did good,” Johnson said. “It was a nail-biter, but we held our ground.”
With the win, the Loggers are now 9-4 overall, while the Warriors dropped to 12-4.
Game one on Saturday is scheduled for 11 a.m.