Red-hot Hoopa Warriors knock off Big 5 leaders

Submitted photos – The Hoopa Warriors in action against Eureka on Thursday.

The Hoopa Warriors have been turning some heads this season, and on Thursday they turned a few more of them.

The red-hot Warriors continued to roll and stretched their winning streak to 16 straight games with their most impressive victory yet, beating Big 5 leaders Eureka 8-1 in hot conditions in Hoopa.

“It was a big one for us,” said Hoopa head coach Ryan Colegrove, whose team avenged a 1-0 loss to Eureka in the NorCal playoffs last season. 

The loss for Eureka comes just one day after the Loggers shut out a very good Del Norte team 1-0 in Big 5 action, and the eight runs allowed matches the season-high they gave up against McKinleyville.

It also suggests the Warriors could be the best team in the H-DN this spring and a legitimate threat for the Division-4 North Coast Section playoffs.

They’re certainly the hottest right now.

“Every game now we’re just getting stronger and stronger hitting wise,” said Colegrove, whose players racked up seven hits against Eureka pitchers Kira Morris and Bailey Brown. “Everybody’s coming together.”

Hoopa pitcher Tatianna Colegrove has been outstanding all season and that continued to be the case on Thursday as she got the win in the circle, while striking out a remarkable 18 Eureka batters.

The senior standout, who is playing at an MVP level, also continued to impress at the plate and finished 2-for-4 with a double.

Fellow senior Nae-Rew Martin also had a big game and was 2-for-3 with a double.

Martin has been just as effective on the defensive side of the ball all spring, providing a reliable glove at shortstop after moving over from second base this season.

The entire Hoopa defense has been getting better and better as the season has progressed and continues to stay focused every play.

“It’s hard for them because Tatianna throws a lot of strikeouts and they have to sit for a while and be ready,” Ryan Colegrove said. “But it’s all working.”

Twin sisters Jewely and Diamond Bibancos each also had a base hit, including a double by Jewely, with Nalani Colegrove rounding out a seven-hit team performance.

The Bibancos sisters have each been a consistent threat at the plate for the team this season, with Jewely also playing a key role defensively behind the plate.

The fact that the Warriors lineup had more success than most teams against Morris didn’t surprise the Hoopa coach.

“We did really well off Kira, but we’ve been seeing good pitching,” she said. “Fort Bragg, Credo had really strong pitching and my girls are seeing the ball really well right now.”

The Hoopa girls got off to a fast start with three runs in the first and added four more in the fourth and another in the sixth to open up an 8-0 lead.

“They’re all doing their job and what we’ve been working on,” Ryan Colegrove said. “What really helps is they all get along really well. They take care of each other.”

The Loggers got their only run of the game after Morris tripled to left center field in the top of the seventh and was able to make it all the way home.

Mariah Napoleon also had a base hit in the loss.

After moving up to Division 4 this season because of their recent success at the D-5 level, the Warriors will be competing against far larger schools than Hoopa in the section playoffs.

Judging by Thursday’s performance, however, that won’t intimidate them, and the victory will help their potential seeding next month.

The Warriors are currently ranked No. 3 in Division 4, according to MaxPreps, trailing only No. 1 Cardinal Newman and No. 2 Del Norte, who have switched back and forth in recent weeks.

Hoopa also came into Thursday’s game as the No. 37 team overall in the NCS, two spots behind Eureka, with No. 24 Del Norte the highest ranked local team.

The Warriors will try to keep rolling when they host St. Bernard’s in a Little 3 doubleheader on Saturday, with game one set for 11 a.m.

A victory in either game will clinch the league title outright for the Warriors.

The team will also honor a talented and very successful senior class beforehand on what will be their final home games of the regular season.

The Warriors improved to 16-2 with the win, while the Loggers dropped to 9-5.

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