A more relaxed McKinleyville Panthers team got back to winning ways on Wednesday, shutting out the Tigers 9-0 at Arcata High.
The Panthers came into the day having dropped five of their last six games, but quickly took control of the game with several players stepping up.
“I felt like they played much more relaxed, much more themselves,” head coach Shanna McCracken said. “Their energy was a lot different. It was good to see.”
In other local softball on Wednesday, the Eureka Loggers won a key showdown against Del Norte 1-0, while the Fortuna Huskies split a non-league doubleheader at Mendocino College, beating Lower Lake 11-1 and falling to Clear Lake 2-0.
The senior bats came ready to play for the Panthers, who improved to 5-5 in the Big 5 and 9-6 overall, with home runs by Camryn Pinard and Trinity Preston.
Preston finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and also had a double, while Pinard was 1-for-5 with two RBIs.
Impressive freshman McKennah Sargent also had a big day, getting the win in the circle and finishing 3-for-4 with a double.
Sargent gave up just two hits in five innings, with junior Marshall Stumpf also impressing in the circle for two innings.
Taylor Wade also made some big defensive plays at first base and was 1-for-1.
Bailee Box finished 2-for-5, Taya Gomes was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Liana Stumpf and Kayla Beck each finished 1-for-1 with an RBI.
Kennedy Minton also had a base hit to round out a balanced team performance.
Fortuna 11, Lower Lake 1, 5 innings
Clear Lake 2, Fortuna 0
The Huskies stretched their winning streak to three straight early on Wednesday, before being shut out in game two in Ukiah.
Senior Libby Johnston pitched a complete-game two-hitter against Lower Lake and had eight strikeouts.
At the plate, senior Kylee Fennell doubled off the left field fence in the top of the first inning to drive in two runs for a lead Fortuna never relinquished.
The consistent Fennell continued her strong season and finished with three RBIs.
Johnston and freshman Isabel Sanchez each had three hits, while Myra Hayes and Kadence Mace both had two, including a double by Mace.
Sanchez took over in the circle in game two and continued to show a lot of promise, throwing a four-hitter against a solid Cardinals team that improved to 10-7.
Sanchez allowed just one earned run while striking out 10 and walking one.
The Huskies had their opportunities, but stranded eight base runners and committed five errors.
The Huskies are now 9-8 and will return to league play week with a three-games series against Big 5 leaders Eureka.